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Pour Wine like a Sommelier

A long time ago, I thought about opening a bar.  I had a conversation with a friend about it:

me: I’m thinking about opening a bar.
friend: cool.
me: I wouldn’t know how to even get started.
friend: well, I think instead of drinking, you pour.
me: I can still drink, right?
friend: you probably shouldn’t open a bar.

Well, it’s true that most of us have no problem with the mechanics of drinking.  We’re pretty good at it.  The pour, on the other hand is much more complicated and some of us are god awful at it.

This is a 2-part series about pouring two things that make us happy: beer and wine.  This post will focus on the sweet, sweet nectar of alcoholic grapes.

When pouring a glass of wine, etiquette is quite important.  In many cases, it’s even impressive.  Try the following the next time you’re around a large group of people waiting for their daily wine fix…selecting-the-proper-wine-drink-glass

The Glass: Make sure you’re using the right glass.  Big is not the only description it should have.  Although, it may be the most important 🙂  Red wine glasses are typically more round, while white glasses should be taller and slightly narrower. If you are serving a sparkling wine or a champagne, you will want to stick with fluted glasses, which are very narrow and tall.  Below is more info than you’ll probably need, but eh, why not.

The Label (optional): Depending on the occasion, or wine you’re pouring, you may want to present the label to the table.  The label should be turned facing the individual.  Now, if you do this with some of my friends, you probably will be asked to leave before they start drinking.

The Corking: Using a knife, or a cutter, cut the foil just below the cork, around the neck in a straight line.  Make sure you make it all the way around, and remove it.  Then use a simple corkscrew (no need to get fancy) and take the cork out.  Pick a person and place the cork to the right of their glass.

A little about wine corks you may not know:


The Tasting: Pour one ounce for the person you presented the label and cork to.  Let them taste it, and wait for their approval.

The Pour: Proper etiquette recommends pouring for the women first, and starting with the eldest woman at the table and filling clockwise. However, you may not want to reveal the age and go clockwise from the beginning.  Then the men are served and the individual who ordered the wine would be serviced last. The glasses should be poured approximately halfway, and then the bottle should be twisted when finished to avoid wine dripping on the table.

Where to Pour: Red and white wines should be poured into the center of the glass, while sparkling wines and champagne should be served into a tilted glass to keep the bubbles intact.

1403542800000.jpgBonus – Sommelier-style pour: At the base of most wine bottles is something called the Punt.  It’s an indent.  The origins and meaning behind this indent have long been debated.  However, many experienced wine pourers use the base to pour wine.  Place your thumb in the punt, and your other fingers  around the base below your thumb.  Then, pray to god your grip doesn’t give out.

BTW – if your wine comes in a box or a can. Well, that’s cool too.  Who am I to judge.

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