14 Wine Etiquette Do’s and Don’ts

Wine Etiquette
Hold the glass by the stem, swirl the wine gently, taste before you pour, serve wine at the appropriate temperature, and offer to refill others' glasses first. Don't fill the glass to the brim, don't hold the glass by the bowl, or add ice cubes to the wine.

1. Open The Bottle Correctly

Opening your wine bottle correctly is important to avoid damaging the cork, spilling the wine, or injuring yourself.

 Here are the steps to follow when opening a wine bottle:

  • Cut the foil – Use a foil cutter or a knife to remove the foil capsule that covers the top of the bottle. Cut below the lip of the bottle and remove the foil.
  • Insert the corkscrew – Place it at the center of the cork and twist it into the cork. Ensure the corkscrew goes in straight and doesn’t pierce through the bottom of the cork.
  • Pull out the cork – Hold the bottle with one hand and use the other hand to twist the corkscrew until the cork is almost out of the bottle. Use a firm grip on the cork and gently pull it out of the bottle.
  • Serve the wine – Wipe the mouth of the bottle with a clean cloth to remove any debris or cork particles. Serve the wine in the appropriate glassware and enjoy.

2. Serve In The Right Glass 

Red wine glasses should have a broader, rounder bowl to make swirling and aerating wine easier.

White wine glasses should have a reduced mouth area to preserve white wines’ lighter, more delicate flavors.

3. Temperature Matters

Temperature is crucial for the storage, serving, and transportation of wine. Proper temperature control ensures that wine maintains quality and you can enjoy it fully.

4. Hold The Bottle Base While Pouring

hold wine bottle from base
Hold wine bottle from the base while pouring

Holding a bottle of wine from the base while serving is the best way to avoid spillage. Ensure the bottle label faces the person you are serving. 

Holding the bottle near the base allows you to pour the wine more smoothly and steadily.

5. Pour In The Correct Proportion

Fill your glass in less than half to allow the wine to breathe and release its aromas. If you are serving sparkling wine or champagne, pour the wine to about two-thirds full to allow room for the bubbles to form.

If you are serving a more full-bodied wine, such as a red wine, you may want to pour a smaller portion than you would for a lighter wine to allow the wine to aerate properly.

6. Hold The Glass From The Stem

Holding a glass of wine from the stem provides more stability and control. It ensures you enjoy the visual and sensory experience of drinking wine while maintaining proper etiquette.

It also helps control the temperature of your wine. You avoid warming up the wine with the heat from your hand. 

7. Clink Glasses Bell To Bell

clink wine glasses
Clink wine glasses correctly

When toasting, clink glasses bell to bell. This lowers the possibility of shattering because the bell is the thicker part of the glass. It also creates a lovely chiming sound that tapping the rims would never achieve.

8. Look Into Eyes While Clinking And Saying Cheers

Making eye contact shows respect, camaraderie, and appreciation for the gathered people. Maintain eye contact for a few seconds, then gently clink the glasses together.

Also read: 11 Soup Etiquette Do’s and Don’ts

9. Know When And How To Sniff

By sniffing your wine before you taste it, you enhance your overall wine-drinking experience and gain a deeper appreciation for the wine. Sniffing will allow you to enjoy the wine’s aroma and appreciate its complexities.

Here are some steps to follow when sniffing your wine:

  • Swirl the wine in your glass to release its aromas.
  • Quickly sniff to get a first impression of the wine’s scent.
  • Take a second, deeper sniff to appreciate the wine’s complexities fully.
  • Identify the scents you smell, such as fruit, floral, or earthy notes.
  • Think about the intensity of the aroma and how it might relate to the flavors of the wine.

10. Check If It’s Corked

You can check if wine is corked by smelling and tasting it. When wine is corked, it will smell musty or moldy and taste flat and lifeless.

Cork taint (TCA) occurs when the wine comes into contact with compounds found in the cork. It’s the most common cause of off-flavors in wine. 

11. Don’t Leave Lipstick Marks All Over 

There are a few simple things you can do to avoid leaving mouth marks all over your glass of wine:

  • Drink from one side of your glass: This will help prevent your glass from lipstick smears.
  • Use a straw: Drinking wine through a straw can help keep your lipstick intact and prevent it from smudging or rubbing off the glass.
  • Choose a long-lasting lipstick: Look for lipsticks that are long-lasting or transfer-resistant. These formulas are less likely to appear on your glass when you sip wine.
  • Take small sips: Avoid large gulps to minimize the amount of lipstick on the glass.
  • Use a napkin: After taking a sip of wine, gently blot your lips with a napkin. This will help remove excess lipstick and prevent it from transferring onto the glass.

12. Offer Others Before Refilling Your Glass 

Wine etiquette is all about being thoughtful and considerate. Refilling other people’s glasses before your own is one way to be considerate.

When offering wine to others, it is important to be gracious and polite. You can simply ask if anyone would like a refill, and if they do, offer to pour it for them.

13. No Ice Cubes

Do not put ice cubes in wine because they dilute and alter flavor profiles. Since it is served at a temperature that enhances its flavor, adding ice can make it too cold, which can mask the wine’s nuances.

14. Feel Free To Ask Questions To Your Sommelier

Asking questions to a sommelier during a wine tasting is a great way to learn more about the world of wine and gain a deeper appreciation for them.

Sommeliers are wine experts passionate about wine and happy to share their knowledge and expertise.

How And Where To Place A Wine Glass On The Table?

The proper place for a wine glass is on the right side of your plate, above the spoon and knife. If serving various types of wines, place the white wine glass before the red wine.

Do You Sip Wine Or Drink It?

You sip wine to savor its flavors. Sipping wine allows you to enjoy the flavor and complexities of the beverage.


Tabitha is a curious and enthusiastic writer who believes in the power of words and the importance of good manners. Etiquette is her passion, and she enjoys sharing her knowledge with others. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys traveling, reading, and spending time with her family.

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