12 Essential Wine Tips That Will Make You an Expert!

12 wine tips

Wine can be a little overwhelming.

What type of glass should you use? How do I describe wine? What is the proper temperature to serve wine? And there are so many more questions….

So we are here to help! With these wine tips, you’ll be able to drink wine like a pro! “Or at least fake it till you make it!”

We’ll take you through 12 essential wine tips that will make you look like an expert!

What are the 12 Essential Wine Tips?

1) How to Hold a Wine Glass and Swirl the Wine

hold wine glass

Holding a glass of wine

Simple. You want to hold the wine glass by the stem or base so you don’t warm up the wine with your body temperature. It may appear to be pretentious to hold a wine glass in a certain way, but it is for a beneficial purpose.

FYI – Holding just the base of the glass even though proper, may look a little snooty. But go for it if you feel it.

Swirling wine

swirl wine glass

When swirling wine in your glass, it allows oxygen to mix with the wine and releases the wine’s aromas.

To swirl wine, hold the wine glass by the stem and draw small circles to swirl the wine around the glass. It’s also easier to swirl wine in a glass on the table.

FYI – You can tell a lot about how a person swirls their wine =)

2) Fruit Forward or Earth: Know what you like

There are generally two types of wine, fruit-forward or earth. Fruit-forward wine is just how it sounds, a big bold wine with lots of fruit flavors like berries and other fruits. While an earthier wine is more lean with subtle fruit notes and complex flavors of mushrooms, forest floor, minerals, and soil.

New World vs Old World

While fruit-driven wines are broadly from the New World (particularly the United States, Australia, South America, and New Zealand), earthier wines tend to come from the Old World (Europe).

It’s important to know what you prefer so you can order (or purchase) a wine that you’ll enjoy. However you make like both types of wine, and that’s great! I do too but knowing each type allows me to choose the right wine depending on the circumstances.

3) Purchase the Right Wine Accessories

wine accessories wine taste

You don’t need all the wine gadgets, but it’s important to have a few key wine accessories on hand.

First, a quality wine opener. I recommend getting a waiter’s style corkscrew because they are easy to use and can open any type of wine bottle.

Second, you’ll need wine glasses. I recommend getting a set of all-purpose wine glasses because they are great for any type of wine varietal. 

If you want to get specific, then purchase glasses for red wine and white wine. But that’s not necessary, especially if you are just starting your wine collection.

These are really the only two accessories you need to enjoy wine.

Optional accessories are to get a wine aerator and decanter. These wine accessories allow the wine to breathe which can enhance the flavors and aromas.

4) Tips on Wine Descriptions

wine tasting fruit flavors

Many people have difficulty describing wine. The best way to describe wine is generally by the fruit aromas that you smell. So use this simple but

So when you are drinking red wine, think of red/dark fruits (blackberries, cherries, plums, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, etc…), and you use these to describe flavors in your red wine.

When drinking white wine, describe the flavors using white fruits (citrus, apples, pear, peach, pineapple, mango, passion fruit).

Remember wine is subjective so you can’t go wrong! =)

5) Go Smell Fruit at the Grocery Store

wine drinking fruit flavors

Most people don’t remember what a blackberry, blueberry, or passion fruit smells like. So the easiest method to remember is by smelling. And a grocery store, farmer’s market, or even a farm is the ideal location to smell a variety of fruit.

6) How to Open a Bottle of Wine

open wine bottle wine journal

To safely open your wine bottle, start by removing the foil from the top of the bottle. Next, using a waiter’s corkscrew, insert the spiral screw into the cork and twist it in. Once the screw is fully inserted, you can use the lever to pry the cork out of the bottle. Be careful not to break the cork while doing this.

WineO Tips

  1. Purchase a wine foil cutter if it is not included with your wine opener.
  2. Get a wine opener with a two-step double-hinged fulcrum.

And if you don’t have a wine opener, here are some other way you can open a bottle of wine.

7) Understand your wine bottle

Reading a wine label can be a little daunting but it’s important to understand what you’re buying.

3 Ways to Label Wine

  • Grape Variety (New World) – In the US, it’s at least 75% produced by that grape variety.
  • Region (Old World) – Most regions will specialize in specific grape types/varieties that it produces.
  • Name – Normally a unique wine blend

8) Serve Wine at Proper Temperature

serving sparkling wine temperatures

The ideal wine serving temperature varies depending on the type of wine.

For white wines, a general rule is to serve them chilled but not too cold (normally around 45-50 degrees F). I usually put my white wine in the fridge for about 30-60min before serving. This way, the wine is cool but not too cold where you can’t taste the flavors.

For red wines, it’s best to serve them NOT at room temperature. You should actually serve red wine at about 55 and 65 degrees F. Just place it in a fridge for about 20-30 minutes before serving.

9) Food and Wine Pairings

Some people may think pairing wine and food can be a complex process. But when it comes to pairing wine and food, there are no hard and fast rules.

In terms of food and wine pairing rules, I believe there is ONE to rule them ALL!

Respect the region. Which basically means that you should pair food with wine from the same regions. So for example, Italian food with Italian wines.

10) Properly Store Wine

wine fridge temperature dual zone dual zone

Ideally, your wine should always be stored horizontally in a dark, cool and humid environment. The ideal wine storage temperature is 55 degrees F for both red and white wines together. This is generally done using a wine cellar or wine fridge.

WineO Tip: If you don’t want to spend the money for a wine fridge, the best place to store your wine is in a dark closet or basement. 

11) Always Have Wines

There are always wine occasions that pop up unexpectedly. You may have a casual wine night with friends, drinking wine at home, or be invited to a housewarming party where you need/should to bring a bottle of wine.

So it’s always good to have great tasting wine on hand for these events! And you don’t need to break the bank, keep these wines under $25. Here are a few suggestions for white and red wines.

12) Use a Coravin

coravin model 3 drinking wine

If you are a wine lover, the Coravin wine preservation system is a MUST HAVE!

This wine system allows you to drink wine without pulling the cork. Which means you can enjoy a glass of wine now and save the rest for later. Used by many Michelin starred restaurants.

The Coravin wine preservation system is perfect for those who want to enjoy wine but don’t want to drink an entire bottle.

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