How to Drink Red Wine Like an Expert


For a long time, wine has been associated with pomp and merry-making. Evidence from archeological studies shows that wine production started as early as 400 BC in China, Iran, Armenia, Greece, and Sicily. There are four types of wines: white wines, red wines, sparkling wines, and Rose wines. Here, we explore the art of drinking a specific category of wine, the red wine & how to drink red wine like an expert.

How is Red Wine Made?

In order to make red wine, dark-colored grapes are required. The color comes from a plant pigment called anthocyanin found in the skins of the grapes and becomes less concentrated as the wine ages. Red wine is produced using crushed and fermented dark-colored whole grapes. The alcohol content in red wine normally scales from 12-15%. Red wine has more than 30 different varieties but the most common ones are Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Shiraz, Malbec, Merlot, and Zinfandel.

Taking time to know the best wine drinking practices is not only associated with class but also decorum. Quaffing this precious commodity inaccurately is doing it some injustice!

Get to Know Your Wine

Read the label on the bottle to get an understanding of the source and age of the wine together with the number of calories contained in it. The older the wine is, the better the taste. There are wines that will not get better after a certain time frame, but those are clearly marketed as such.

You need to check for any smells that might be indicative of spoiled wine. Sniffing at this stage will also help in comparing fragrances after swirling.

Choice of Glass

Choose the correct glassware. When it comes to red wine, glasses with large rounded bowls are the perfect choice because they give room for the wine to release its distinctive scent.

Hold Your Glass by The Stem

This is done to prevent heat from the hand from tampering with the temperature of the wine. The glass rim should curve inwardly to help channel aromas to the nose and for successful swirling without spilling the wine.

Pour the Wine Up to About One-Third of The Glass

Look out for any segments of solids suspended in the glass. It is important to know that red wines always have sediment at the bottom of the glass or bottle.

Hold Your Glass Against a White Background or Up Against the Light

This often helps to determine the wine’s true color. The color of the wine can also be used to deduce how old it is. For instance, with time, the color of red wine changes brownish, with dark red sediment at the bottom of the bottle or glass.

Swirl Your Wine Glass

Swirl your wine a couple of times by moving the glass in a circular motion as it exposes more of the wine’s surface to oxygen, helping to release the complex aromas to find their way into your olfactory sensors.

Pay Attention to The Viscosity of the Wine  

This observation should be made while swirling the glass. The more viscous the wine is, the more alcohol it contains. Apart from it appearing tantalizing, the viscosity has nothing to do with the quality of the wine.

Sniff the Wine

Sniffing is the single most important step in wine appreciation. The taste mainly relies on the smell. Taking time to sniff the wine allows the taste buds to better grasp the different flavors in the vino you are about to enjoy.

Sniffing requires an individual to put the nose right beneath the rim of the glass and breathe in. Studies have shown that if an individual doesn’t like the scent of wine, then they will definitely dislike its taste. After getting the scent, try and identify the flavors of the wine.

Some of the common flavors that can be picked up from red wine include:

  • Cherries and berries
  • Floral and herbal scents for the lighter red wines
  • Wooden barrels used to age wine can also influence the scents of red wines. Some may have unique smells like vanilla, coffee, and toast.

Older wines have smells that can be hard to place, so it’s totally okay if you can’t pick out a smell.

Taste and Drink the Wine

In trying to sip the wine, let it stay on the taste buds while rolling it around the entire mouth and assess the intense flavor. Pay attention to the notes you picked up while smelling it.  The key to becoming a wine connoisseur lies in learning to smell all the district aromas that come through in every sip. The experience is not only refreshing; it is also educative.

Take another sip of wine, this time with air in it. You can achieve this by slurping the drink. Look out for the balance in the wine. Good wines are balanced to be gentle on your taste buds. You also need to be keen on the aftertaste; a flavor that stays longer indicates that the wine is of good quality.

3 Good Wine Drinking Habits

  • Don’t drink more than a glass of wine before eating as it can increase your appetite, especially if taken 30 minutes before a meal.
  • Do not drink wine very late in the night, because you won’t have much rest after. It’s advisable to take wine before 8 PM.
  • Spend more on a bottle of wine- expensive is always better when it comes to wine.

Moderate red wine consumption is better for one’s health than not drinking at all as the antioxidants found in red wine lower the probability of cardiovascular disease and early mortality. A study published in the journal ‘Annals of Internal Medicine’ suggests that drinking a glass of red wine every night helps people with type-2 diabetes manage their cholesterol and cardiac health. However, if taken in excessive amounts, these red wine benefits are replaced by an increase in health risks such as cardiomyopathy.

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