6 Tips for Serving Wine (Like a Professional)

What are tips for serving wine?

  1. Prepare special bottles for serving
  2. Get the temperature right
  3. Re-cork opened bottles so they stay fresh
  4. Know how to decant and aerate
  5. Choose the right glassware
  6. Avoid overfilling the glass

So, you’ve found the perfect wine to serve at your next gathering. But, while we all love a good glass of wine, there are a few things you must do to create a truly enjoyable experience.

This experience all starts with the moment you uncork and serve your wine. But how do you do this correctly at home? Here are three tips for serving wine to ensure you do it like the pros do — and make your wine a hit at the next dinner party!

Prepare special bottles for serving

You might have a special, aged wine in mind. If so, you must prepare it so that it’s ready to drink. You can’t serve this wine straight away! Older wines tend to have some sediment, and if you’ve stored it on its side, then it’s likely mixed throughout the bottle.

So, before you plan on serving it, let the wine stand vertically for at least a couple of days. This gives it enough time to allow any sediment to settle at the bottom of the bottle.

When you take it out to serve, be careful not to jostle it and disturb the sediment. You can use a flashlight or your phone light to check if the bottle has clear, bright wine. If so, it’s ready to prepare for serving.

Get the temperature right

Get the temperature right

We know that wine should be chilled before being served. But what temperature is right for your wine?

One of the most common serving mistakes is pouring the wine when it's straight out of the refrigerator. This is too cold for any wine and will prevent its flavors and scents from shining through. 

The ideal temperature range for your white wine and rosé wine is 10-12ºC. For red wines and port wines, it’s around 15-20 °C. Sparkling wines should be served the coldest, at around 5-10ºC.

To get the right temperature — just slightly cool — stick them in the fridge for a few hours, then remove them for about 20-30 minutes to let them warm up a bit. If you forget to chill them before serving, you can stick the bottle in the fridge for about 20 minutes, or in the freezer for 5-6 minutes, then immediately serve for the same effect. 

Re-cork opened bottles so they stay fresh

Once you’ve opened your wine bottle and poured it out, you have to remember to re-cork it. This helps the wine stay fresh for the rest of the evening. We also suggest keeping your wine in an ice bucket, or popping it back in the fridge while you're not drinking them. 

If you don’t manage to finish your wine in one go, then you can keep it in your refrigerator for a few more days. They will typically last about 3 to 5 days before it starts losing too much flavor. 

Know how to decant and aerate

Know how to decant and aerate

Letting wine “breathe” is probably something you’ve heard before. It’s also known as aeration and is a good technique to let the flavors and aromas bloom while softening tannins. This is especially good for young and highly-structured wines, such as Nebbiolo, Sangiovese, and some Cabernet-based wines.

Simply removing the cork does nothing to aerate your wine, though. Aerating can be done by swirling your wine in your glass before taking a sip. But, another way to aerate your wine before serving is by decanting.

Here are some rules of thumb to follow if you want to decant your wine:

  • Sparkling wines, rosé, and light-bodied white wines should usually not be decanted.
  • Medium- and full-bodied white wines can benefit from decanting. 
  • Red wines (especially aged reds) and port wines will benefit from decanting.
  • Extremely old red wines, especially Pinot Noir, should not be decanted. They are delicate and decanting may make them lose their aromas and flavors.
  • After you’ve poured the wine into the decanter, you should let it aerate for at least 30 minutes before pouring into a glass.
  • Avoid decanting wines for hours on end — this will make them lose much of their flavor profile and tannins. 

Choose the right glassware

Choose the right glassware

The kind of glass you choose to pour the wine into will affect how the wine is perceived. It translates into different aromas, textures, flavors, and finishes. 

We covered how to choose the right wine glass before, but here’s a quick rundown: 

  • White Wine — we recommend serving it in smaller bowled glasses. This shape expresses their acidity and floral notes better. Wider-bowled glasses are perfect for more complex medium-bodied whites.
  • Red Wine — Large and wide-bowled glasses work best for full-bodied reds and their acidic, rich fruit and oak notes. Standard glasses are recommended for medium-bodied reds. Glasses with a slightly tapered rim best accentuate light-bodied reds.
  • Sparkling Wine — Stemmed glasses with U-shaped bowls help distribute a sparkling wine’s brightness and yeasty bouquet. 
  • Rosé Wine — We recommend using a glass with a slightly tapered top. This helps the crisp sweetness of rosés hit the tip of the tongue, where taste buds are most sensitive.
  • Port/Fortified Wine — Glasses with short stems, small bowls, and a narrow opening dull the high alcohol levels, while enhancing the sweetness of this wine.

Avoid overfilling the glass

While it is tempting to pour yourself a big glass of your favorite wine, it will negatively affect your drinking experience. Too much wine will mean it will eventually get too warm and too aerated — thus dulling the great flavors, aromas, and tannins. 

It varies by glass size and shape but, generally, pouring about a quarter to a third of the way up is a good amount. Carefully watch the wine as you’re pouring so you know when to stop.

Key Takeaway

You don’t need to be a sommelier to enhance your wine-drinking experience — all you need to do is use our tips for serving wine! With this, you can elevate your wine nights and impress your guests.

Of course, you can’t enjoy wine without finding a great bottle — so don’t forget to check out Ralph’s Wines & Spirits collection. We have hundreds of wines to choose from everyone, and we can deliver them right to your doorstep, anywhere in Metro Manila!