Wine experts pour the way they do for several reasons. The right approach shows respect, ensures equitable servings, and leads to less spillage, which cuts down on waste and prevents stains on clothing and surfaces.
You don’t need to be a sommelier to engage in proper wine pouring techniques, and those who want to get the most out of their bottles employ the pros’ moves at home. Before you enjoy your next bottle of wine, check out the following tips. You’ll master the skill of pouring wine in no time.
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A sommelier in a restaurant will pour with the label facing the guests to show what’s being poured is what was ordered. Your dining companions may not be so picky, but it’s a good habit to pour with the label facing out so that anyone who’s curious can take a quick glance and appreciate the grape varietal, the wine’s provenance, and the producer. Learn about how to read a French wine label here.
Get a Grip
The best grip on a wine bottle is one that feels strong and comfortable. That said, wine experts recommend gripping the lower half of a bottle, rather than the middle or the neck, to aid with control. For added flair, you can attempt the sommelier’s practice of holding a bottle from the bottom, either flat in the palm of one hand with fingers curved around the edge, or by inserting a thumb into the raised dimple, known as a bottle’s punt.
If you plan to use a decanter, take care to not let the wine bottle rest on the edge as you pour. A decanter’s glass is often delicate, and could chip with direct contact. Instead, tilt the decanter on the table at a 45-degree angle with one hand as you pour from the bottle with the other. The thumb on the hand holding the decanter can help hold the bottle’s neck aloft.
Champagne is precious juice, so don’t rush the pouring process. Tilt the bottle at a 45-degree angle, grip the bottom of the bottle while you pour, and be patient—you may need to stop and start again while the bubbles settle. Experts recommend filling the glass just two-thirds full for a regular serving, and one-third for toasts. Thirsty? Browse our selection of organic Champagne.
Take Amount Into Account
The widely agreed upon standard for a glass of wine is five to six ounces. Pouring a standard amount ensures that everyone gets to enjoy a great bottle, and that there’s ample room in a glass for the wine to breathe. When to stop the pour? Your drinking vessels will clue you in—simply fill to where the widest part of a wine glass’s bowl begins, and voila, you’ve poured a five- to six-ounce glass. If you’re a stickler for specificity, some wine glasses come with a subtle horizontal line to indicate when you’ve reached the prescribed amount.
Keep It Neat
To prevent dripping on your guests or your table, quickly and deliberately give the bottle a quarter turn using your wrist, then bring the bottle upright and pull back from the glass. If you happen to have a napkin handy, you can wipe the mouth of the bottle before setting it back down on the table (or in an ice bucket if chilling).
Practice Makes Perfect
The phrase “fake it til you make it” is apt when it comes to pouring wine, and not just because you want to look good or put on a show. Confidence equates to a steady hand and decisive motions, which helps to prevent accidents. And of course, the perfect pour becomes a habit with practice, which means it’s a good idea to implement these tips even when casually enjoying a glass at home alone. After a few times, pouring a perfect glass will feel like second nature.
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