Ultimate Guide to Serving Wine Like a Pro


Being able to organize a wine party and serving wine is a crucial skill nowadays. Especially organizing it well. But one of the most important parts of it is how you serve the wines, as they tend to be the highlight of the party.

You should learn how to do this because it can increase your reputation or make your social circle better. But it can simply help you develop a skill you can use later in life (and you will most definitely use this, trust us.)

So, whether the occasion is formal or casual, we will quickly teach you how to serve everyone’s favorite drink: wine.

What Temperature Does the Wine Need to Be On?

First of all, look at the kinds of wine you have, because it’s crucial information. Every kind of wine has an ideal temperature where they taste the best. So, let’s start with the most common wine people like to drink.

Red Wine

Red wine is said to be the best at room temperature. Well, that’s quite the misconception. Red wine is the best cold, around 60-70° F (or 15-21° C). In this case, you can store the wine in the fridge, then take it out 15-20 minutes before the party. Or you can even reverse this and put the red wines bottles in the fridge for 15 minutes before serving. The latter can make the wines have a “chillier” taste though, so be careful with experimenting with this method. Check out more tips on the temperature you should have your red wine is by taking a look at “Ultimate Guide for Best Red Wine Serving Temperatures”.

White Wine & Rosé

White wine is also favored, but there aren’t misconceptions about it. Fortunately. In this case, the ideal temperature is 50-60° F (or 10-15° C). Because of this, it’s not recommended to be stored at room temperature. Although, if you plan on drinking the wine straight after buying it, then it should be placed in the freezer for about half an hour. It should be enough to cool it down to the desired temperature.

But when you are drinking white wine you shouldn’t put it on ice, or back into the fridge. With the slowly rising temperature, the taste will change as well. It can be an amazing experience. Be sure to check out “What Temperature Does Wine Freeze?” to see how long you can store your wine in the freezer.

Sparkling Wine & Ice Wine

And the two last wines, the rarest ones you can find at parties. Sparkling wine and ice wine. These two wines can be hard to get your hands on, so it’s best to make the experience perfect. These wines are best if you serve them as ice cold. Their temperatures should be around 40-50° F (or 4-10° C). The easiest way to chill it is to put the wines in the freezer for an hour and let it sit at room temperature for about 10 minutes. Don’t know what ice wine is? Take a look at “20 Things to Know About Ice Wine” for more.

What Glassware do I need?

This is often overlooked, as most people just go with whatever wine glasses they have at home. Big mistake. The shape of the glass can determine how much you smell the wine, how much it can breathe or where you will first taste your drink.

If you plan on becoming a regular host then you should invest in some quality wine glasses.

Red Wine

In this case, the best wines you can choose are BordeauxBurgundy, and Cabernet glasses.

With Bordeaux, you will be able to taste the wine on your whole tongue without it getting stuck at the tip. It’s best if you know that you will be drinking bitter wine, as this kind of glass can help you eliminate that.

On the other hand, Burgundy helps the wine stay at the tip of your tongue, so it’s best if you want to intensify the taste.

Cabernet glasses are a whole other story though, as their main purpose is to help the wine breathe, thus collecting the aroma in one place. It can help you smell the wine more.

White Wine & Rosé

If you are drinking white wine or rosé then there is no other way to go around it. Either choose Chardonnay or Sparkling glasses.

Chardonnay has a U-shape, which is the norm for glasses that have been designed for white wine. This shape is best for younger wines and it will help you taste it at the tip and sides of your tongue, but not the back.

Sparkling glasses are fancier though and are generally used for champagne. In this case, it can help the wine retain its’ carbonation. So if you aren’t drinking something that is not still, this is your best bet. Also, these glasses tend to be much cheaper than Chardonnay glasses, so if that’s a deciding factor for you then you know what to choose.

Take a look also at “How to Hold a Wine Glass?” for the correct methods to holding a glass of wine.

Any Other Kinds of Wine

Go with a Balloon or Port type of glass. There are many others, but if you don’t want to spend too much on wine glasses or over complicate things, then these two are the most recommended.

The Balloon is perfect for wines that need to be kept at low temperatures (such as sparkling or ice). It helps the aroma escape and doesn’t let the drink get too warm.

Meanwhile Port glasses close up a lot more, similarly to Bordeaux glasses. Their purpose is to keep the aroma in and help the drinker taste on their tongue’s tip.

How Much Should I Pour?

This question of how much  I should pour into the glass while serving should be the first one to pop in your head, as it’s a crucial piece of information. Most people pour way too much in the glass and it’s not classy at all, so learn how to do it before you mess up.

Let’s address how much you can pour into each glass that we have talked about.

  • Bordeaux: do not let the size of it fool you, you should only fill it up to about 1/3.
  • Burgundy: this one is simple, the wine should only reach the widest part of the glass.
  • Cabernet wines: once again, widest part of wine serving.
  • Chardonnay: this glass is often used for wines that you want to use to get drunk, so nowadays the lines have blurred. It’s best if you don’t pour more than 5 ounces.
  • Sparkling wines: pour 3/4.
  • Balloon: the wine should only reach the widest part of the glass.
  • Port: pour maximum 6 ounces (or pour not more than halfway, but a little less is more preferred).

When Should I Bring Out the Wine?

This depends on your situation, especially whether the party is formal or casual. If it’s casual, then the answer is simple. Have the bottles and glasses ready, then let everyone drink as they want. But if your party is more on the formal side, then you need to follow the etiquette, which can make or break your party.

Have it Ready as a Greeting

You should already have a couple of glasses ready by the time your first guest arrives. It shows that you want everyone to have a good time and it can be a great way to show off some wine serving knowledge.

If you have a choice, then this one should be something light with little alcohol content. You don’t want your guests to drink too much on an empty stomach, as not only can this end with drunkenness but sickness as well.

It’s even better if you have some snacks ready too when you serving wine, like crackers or little pieces of fruit. That way nobody will get sick from a little wine that got into their system too soon. Check out “What Wine Should I Drink With Cheese” for tips on pairing your bottle of wine with aperitifs at your gathering.

Between Courses

This one is obvious, but everyone should have a wine of glass that’s ready to drink in-between courses (except the ones who have already said they don’t want any). In most cases, you won’t be constantly pouring wines. This should be more like a regular check as to who needs more.

After you have begun eating, the wine can get stronger in both tastes and… well, you already know. But make sure that the wine you bring out matches whatever the current course is.

As a Way to Say Goodbye

A final drink at the end of the party is the best way to say goodbye. It’s also great if you have a delicate, but expensive wine. This way you can share it, but you will still be able to enjoy most of it on your own.

If you can, choose something out of the ordinary. It doesn’t necessarily need to be expensive, but if you want to go out with a bang, then it should be memorable. Needs ideas on an out of the ordinary wine bottle? Check out “9 Wines That Taste Like Juice” for a list of possible wine options.

Serving wine is really hard if you are a newbie to it, but it can become perfectly normal and easy once you have gotten used to it. This means that you just need the practice of serving wine, but on the first serving try, you will have some difficulties. Although, it’s really worth it, so why not give it a shot?

Do you plan on serving wine at a party in the near future? Let us know down in the comments and share your own serving tips! Also for more info on serving that perfect wine and dine party at your home, check out “Ultimate Guide to Host Best Wine & Cheese Party” for a full guide to setting up your dinner list.

Wine on My Time is a resource blog for wine lovers all across the world! We take pride in delivering the best quality wine material for our readers. Check us out on Instagram and  Pinterest for daily wine content!

Thank you for reading! We’ll uncork ya later!! ?

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