A wine glass has three parts: the foot, the stem and the bowl.
Red wine is typically served in a full, round glass. This shape allows more surface area of the wine to come in contact with air, which is important for flavor.
A white wine glass, on the other hand, is taller and more U-shaped. This shape helps maintain a cooler temperature while still allowing for contact with the air.
We’ve all seen the classic cork smelling routine or the famous swirl-and-sniff gig, but why do people do it?
Cork smelling originated as a way to detect counterfeit wine. Today, it is thought to be unnecessary and is discouraged by some wine enthusiasts. It’s more important to look at the cork instead. The bottom of a good cork should be stained with wine, indicating that the wine was stored horizontally or upside down and that no air was let into the bottle.
Swirling, smelling and tasting the wine itself, however, is encouraged! To smell wine correctly, keep the wine glass on the table and gently swirl the glass around a few times. Then lift the glass to your face and take a whiff. While you may not be able to detect the subtle flavors just yet, you will be able to tell if the wine is off.
This should go without saying, but surprisingly it has been done: never hold the glass by the foot. That being said, never hold your wine glass by the bowl.
It is more elegant to hold your wine glass by the stem. This way, the heat from your hand won’t
affect the temperature, and therefore the taste, of your wine.
To save yourself from food and wine pairing embarrassment, know the basic rules: reds complement stronger flavors and heavier meals (think steaks with rich sauces), while whites are lighter and should be paired with similarly lighter foods (think seafood or a lemony chicken dish).
White wine should be kept in the fridge and tastes best when chilled. While the wine should not be served too cold, and never over ice, serving a cheap white wine (hello, college budget) colder than normal will improve the taste — mostly by smoothing the cheap, cutting flavor. Store grapes in the freezer or invest in reusable ice cubes so you can cool your wine in a time crunch.
Contrary to popular belief, red wine is not supposed to be served at room temperature; it should be served cool. Store your wine in a cool area or chill the bottle for 20 minutes in the fridge before opening.
Red wine should be poured to fill only half of the glass. White wine should fill one-third of the glass.