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How to Drink AF Wine

How to Drink AF Wine

There are plenty of misconceptions surrounding the appreciation of wine, and who has access to it. You may have turned your nose up at tasting events, wondering why people are swirling their choice of vivacious vino in their mouths and then spitting it out instead of swallowing. But, if you are curious, then allow us to indulge you.

At Wise Bartender, we believe that wine is for everyone, and one of the best ways to knock the walls of ignorance clean through is to pop a cork in their general direction and let you wander into the world of wine tasting. So, we thought we’d explain the step by step process to wine sampling, and make sense of the steps involved.

1. Inspect the bottle for damage

Before you even open a bottle of wine, you need to give it a quick once over to make sure there is no damage to the cork. This might not sound like an important step once you’ve chosen your wine and have taken to daydreaming about a nice long sip in the summer sun, but the quality of the cork can give you an indication that something is wrong with the wine.

And if there’s anything more upsetting than needing to postpone drinking your af wine, it’s the prospect of only realising that it’s spoiled after you’ve settled in and tasted it.

Check for:

Bulging cork: A bulging cork can indicate that the bottle was incorrectly sealed, or has suffered heat damage.

Stuck cork: A stuck cork can be indicative that the wine was not bottled with enough oxygen, causing an unpleasant or altered flavour.

Saturated cork: When you open the bottle, the cork should be coloured with the wine but not saturated. A saturated cork is a sign of a spoiled wine, and no one wants to accidentally drink a spoiled wine.

If your bottle isn’t corked, then you can skip this step.

2. Choose your glass

When it comes to bringing out the most rounded flavour in your wine, the glass you choose matters more than you might think. The size, shape, and presence of a stem can all impact the wine’s flavour.

Typically, you should pick a glass to reflect the wine you are drinking.

Red wine: Red wine glasses should have a larger, round bowl to help with aeration. They will either have a long stem or be stemless, as red wine is best drunk at room temperature.

White wine: White wine glasses have a smaller mouth area than red wine glasses to prevent quick oxidisation. Because white wine should be drunk chilled, you should always use a stemmed glass to keep your hands away from the wine, as your body temperature can make the drink too warm.

Sparkling wine: Sparkling wine glasses are tall and thin. They are typically referred to as ‘flutes’, and this shape prevents bubbly from going flat too quickly, prolonging your enjoyment.

Rosé: This should be drunk from a shorter glass with a small bowl and wide lip.

3. Make sure you’ve got the temperature just right

Different wines require different ambient temperatures to bring out their characteristic flavours.

White wine is best served chilled, and so it is recommended that you leave it in the fridge, and remove it 10 minutes prior to serving.

Red wine tastes its absolute best at room temperature, or 13℃-18℃. If your home is usually warmer than this, there is no harm in placing your wine in the fridge or an ice bucket before decanting.

4. Open the bottle

You may have heard many people saying that there is a knack to opening a wine bottle correctly, and whilst this may be true, anyone can learn and execute the perfect spectacle with practice and the right tools at your disposal.

There are several methods to opening a wine bottle, and you may find one easier than the others. If you wish to play around with them - or find one that you find less scary - then that is your prerogative.

Our one tip: regardless of the method you are using, always angle the cork away from your guests as you practise.

The Wine Key:

The wine key is probably the most well known method of opening a corked wine bottle. The tool was designed specifically with the purpose of cracking open a bottle in your home without fuss. It is also a fan favourite of restaurants.

It consists of a worm-like screw that can be twisted into a cork, and a double hinge that leverages the rim of the bottleneck to pull the cork out.

If you’re an avid wine drinker, then you probably already have a wine key in your kitchen drawer. If not, we highly recommend grabbing one for yourself.

The Cork Screw:

The cork screw is similar to the wine key, but it comes in all shapes and sizes, and has two levers instead of just one. This is one of the easiest methods of cork removal.

You can buy them from most supermarkets and culinary shops.

The Hand:

The hand is a technique best utilised when opening a bottle of sparkling wine, and we can only recommend that you have plenty of space around you, and a firm grip.

Because sparkling wine is carbonised, there is a lot of pressure within the bottle, and the cork has a tendency to shoot out with a lot of force. The spectacle might appear amusing in our minds, but it can cause injuries and home damage if not done correctly. Make sure you:

  • Remove the foil using a knife and loosen the metal cage - do not remove it
  • Grip the metal cage firmly
  • Place your thumb securely over the head of the cork
  • Twist the bottle using your other hand until you feel it loosen
  • Gently pull the cork from the bottle. Do this slowly and carefully

It is important to remember to twist the bottle and not the cork to avoid it popping off.

5. Pour the correct volume of wine

You’ve chosen your wine. You’ve chosen your glass. But how much wine do you put in the glass?

Do you just pour until you are satisfied that you have the amount you want to drink?

Absolutely not.

Of course, if you’re not too bothered about appreciating your wine, then you can probably get away with winging it, but if you want to get the most out of the flavours, and give your guests the best possible taste, then you need to know how to fill your wine glass.

Red Wine

White Wine

Sparkling Wine

Approximately half a glass.

Approximately one third of a glass.

Approximately two thirds of a flute.

6. Absorb the aromatics

Smelling wine is an odd hobby, but there is nothing quite like swirling a glass of red to aerate it before drinking, and experiencing the aromas that flit from the glass.

Whether you want to put your nose right to the rim or allow them to float towards your nose as you go in for that first sip, smelling the wine and experiencing it through every sense possible is so integral to the process that we can’t allow you to skip it.

If you’ve never followed the process before, because you think it’s pretentious or even just a little bit silly, please do it just once. Just for us. Give it a go. Because it will change the experience entirely.

You may even discover a nuance to the flavour that you hadn’t noticed before.

7. Take a sip

The first taste of wine should never be a gulp. Never a swig or a slurp.

Sample the wine. Take in the complex nature of the flavour. Savour it. If you like it, try to figure out why. Is it the depth or sweetness? Do you have deference for the notes of fruit?

Swirl it in your mouth and see what you can find. The beauty of wine is that it spans continents. Each nation chooses differently. Every city has its own species of grape. So, let it linger.

Wine is for everyone, and although you may argue the finer points of how it should be drunk, this is the part where everything comes together. And we wouldn’t want you to miss a single second of the carefully crafted and complex nuances of the blend you have chosen.

8. Enjoy your wine

Once you have taken that first sip, you are free to delve into the rest of the glass.

We think there are very few things better than sharing a bottle of alcohol-free wine between friends, and when you get the steps right, the experience is only enhanced.

Even if you find it a bit tedious. Even if you end up laughing through the process. Bringing people together to appreciate the finer things in life is time well spent.

If we’ve piqued your curiosity and you’re considering sampling alcohol-free wine for yourself, take a look at our wide range of red winewhite winesparkling wine and rosé. If you’re still not sure where to begin, we’ve got just the thing for you: Wine Packs from Wise Bartender are pre-packed selections so that you can sample our choice of top wines and find a new favourite.