Whether you are a formal person or a life characterized by spontaneity, there are good habits linked to the way of relating to and serving wine that are important to know. Whether to adopt them or to consciously transgress them. This is what wine etiquette requires today.
Do you want to have a lunch with friends and want to serve wine correctly? When you're at a restaurant you don't know whether to "top up" or not? Don't you ever know who to serve first at the table? There are many little rules of etiquette to know. Because wine is serious business.
DISCLAIMER: This piece was written in 2022, not at the time of Giovanni Della Casa. Society evolves, the rules adapt to today and if you don't like this too, you have to deal with it 😉
Wine etiquette at the table
– Pay attention to choice of wine in relation to the food you plan (if you have doubts we have written about it here ).
– And to progression between types to offer. The classic sequence is sparkling, white, rosé, red, sweet wine.
PREPARE THE TABLE
– Every wine has a chalice which best enhances its characteristics. It is important to know what the right cup for each type and don't risk putting balloons on the table to serve them sparkling wine . The optimum is: glass for water, glass for sparkling wine, for white and red (those for dessert wine, the only ones for which colored glass is allowed, are brought to the table after having removed the others) .
- Read also: how to place glasses at the table
– Same thing for the serving temperature : if not correct it can irremediably damage the perception of the beloved bottle. In short: cold sparkling wines; fresh whites; red at room temperature, with various distinctions. To know more, click here .
ARRIVAL OF GUESTS
– While waiting for everyone to arrive, it is important to prepare an aperitif.
– If friends arrive with a bottle, in a formal situation you will offer to open it and they will refuse as you will have already prepared the matching wines.
- Read also: what to do when friends bring wine to dinner
UNCRAP THE BOTTLE
– If it's not New Year's Eve Don't uncork with a bang the welcome sparkling wine: only on that day does the classic noise of the sparkling wine cork help drive away bad spirits, as we told in a piece on toast .
– For the sake of truth we write it: etiquette does not include saying “cheers” or clinking glasses by making them touch each other. But we always do it: it's difficult to imagine a happier moment than the moment you toast. An advice? Enjoy it without formalities.
– If you don't plan on finishing the bottle right away, the sparkling wine should be placed in a bucket with ice, covered with a napkin. When finished, the bottle must never be turned upside down.
– When pouring sparkling wines: do so slowly, to avoid the creation of excessive foam.
– It may happen that we toast on special occasions, and after having poured the wine we create the opportunity for a speech: a few sincere sentences, that we are not Cicero, and then everyone is free to enjoy the wine.
– The bottles of red must be uncorked in advance to let them oxygenate and brought to the table already opened or in the decanter , if necessary.
POUR THE WINE
– Finally at the table, the wine must be poured upon arrival first course .
– The world of sommeliers has precise rules on the order of service (in an informal lunch: women first, starting with the eldest; in a formal lunch first the highest religious position, then heads of state and down to the chief of staff of the various Arms). This type of formality concerns more the world of professional service and, moreover, it sounds out of time even for drawing general indications (except for the question of age: it is polite to serve the oldest first. Yes, regardless of gender ).
For your lunches, our advice is to start with the dearest guest and proceed democratically clockwise: with a word that sweeps away formality, the game is done. One thing is certain: the hosts, or themselves, last.
- Read also: What tools are needed to serve wine?
– When pouring wine, it is important do not grab by the neck the bottle: it is not a very elegant gesture, but on the contrary, grasp it at the label, ideally leaving it legible.
– Perfect service requires that it be done from the right of the diner.
– Fill the glasses no more than two-thirds of their height.
- Read also: How is wine served at the table?
– As the sommelier would do at the restaurant, whoever is in charge of pour – but in fact anyone at the table, especially in informal situations – will not let their friends go without wine and will fill their glass with a nod to ask for permission.
– Did you plan to uncork any more bottles during lunch? The ideal is to never serve two different wines in the same glass , but on informal occasions you can easily rinse the glass with water, as is also done at sector tastings.
Wine etiquette: tasting
– Do not mix wine and water.
– The glass should be held by the stem with thumb and forefinger, without lifting the little finger. It's not just about aesthetics, we wrote about it here .
– Taste after swallowing and drying your lips (which must be repeated after the sip).
– The glass reaches the mouth, not the other way around.
– Etiquette does not require that one ever make dramatic gestures: therefore no nose in the glass, no swirling, no gargling. Everyone will find their own point of balance between the desire to understand what they are tasting and the elegance that rewards gestures made on tiptoe.
– In any case, sip calmly: it is more elegant, the possibility of getting drunk is reduced, you enjoy the wine and the conversation with friends more.
Wine etiquette: closing of lunch
– At dessert time, the table is cleared removing the dirty dishes and the now superfluous glasses (not the water one, of course) , and at that point the new ones are brought to the table dessert glasses .
Wine etiquette: give it as a gift
– Wine is a perfect gift, which makes everyone happy, always and in any case. Here you will find all our offers.
– If you go to dinner with friends, bringing wine is always appreciated. If the occasion is informal and it is therefore expected that this will be uncorked at the moment, it is appropriate to bring it to the serving temperature as close as possible to the correct one and consider bringing two if there are many guests.
- Read also: all the reasons why wine is the perfect gift