Bottle Service is designed for you – the people who love a great glass of wine, appreciate how great wine can be in a social setting – but don’t really get involved in the elitist fanfare that the industry is generally known for. There are so many ‘rules’ when it comes to the pompous nature of drinking wine ‘properly’ – and we can definitely disregard quite a few of them.
Having said this though, there are also a few general guidelines which are founded in common sense. Adopting some of the below general pointers can help you not become an overnight expert of course, but at a business lunch or dinner with the in-laws, at the very least you won’t look like a wine rookie.
Avoid: holding the glass by the ‘bowl’
(Bowl: the round bit that the wine sits in.) It sounds very toff we know, but it really is a good idea to get in the habit of always holding your glass by the stem. Why, you ask? Well, it’s simply because your hands are very warm. If you’re drinking a chilled white or sparkling, you want it to remain nice and crisp – especially this time of year!
Even with red wine, holding the wine-filled bowl of your glass will also transfer a significant amount of heat – and given most reds are supposed to be served between 18 and 20 degrees, it can warm up beyond this temp quite quickly. The upshot? Well, when any wine starts to warm up, you start to taste the alcohol in the wine, rather than the flavours – and it can kill the enjoyment. Think about the last time you sat on a flute of delicious sparkling wine for a little too long, and we bet that the dregs at the bottom started to taste like warm, cheap plonk. Yuck.
Avoid: quaffing continuously
Although wine is obviously alcoholic and excess drinking of alcohol is WELL proven to cause ill effects, there are a few tricks you can stick up your sleeve so as to not be that person complaining about how drinking white wine or Champagne gives you the Hangover of Death.
Because wine can be very easy to drink, people can forget that it is still alcohol. Remember to always stay hydrated, no matter what wine you’re drinking. A good rule of thumb, if you can manage it, is to alternate each glass of wine with a glass of water… it will go a very long way in helping you avoid the regretful clutching of the head in bed the next morning.
Avoid: cheap, crappy wine
The popular opinion that cheaper wine can increase the likelihood and severity of hangovers actually rings true, believe it or not! Very cheap wine (for example, almost any cask wine) is easy to drink because it’s sweet. The issue isn’t just that these cheap wines tend to be sweeter – given that all wines have sugar from the grapes, which is mostly converted to alcohol during the fermentation process. No, the problem with cheaper, sweeter wines is that the winemakers add beet or cane sugar to artificially increase sweetness – which is a double whammy: it makes it both easier to drink so you’re likely to have more, and makes those hangovers proportionately worse.
In addition, when you think of wine as an agricultural product, it’s also worthwhile considering the costs that have gone into producing the bottle you choose off the shelf. We’re not saying every bottle you drink needs to be $50+, but there is definitely an ethical consideration in addition to a quality one, when it comes to bargain-basement vino costing only a fistful of coins. Is it even possible to sustainably and ethically grow grapes, harvest them, ferment them, bottle them, and ship them – to retail them for only $8?
Avoid: judging wine based on price
“Ah but by the same token, the more expensive the wine, then the gooder it is also.”
– Manny, Black Books
Although we spent the last two paragraphs disparaging very cheap wine, on the other hand it’s a bad idea to make the blanket assumption that just because a bottle’s expensive, it’s going to make for great drinking. We have lost count of the number of times we’ve had a truly fantastic $15 wine, and likewise, some $40 bottles have fallen far short of expectations. Great wine doesn’t have to be expensive. There – we said it!
A lot of it comes down to personal preference, and you won’t necessarily know what your own tastes are unless you’ve tried a whole bunch of different wines. You’ll learn which you do like – but more importantly, which ones you love! There is some connection to price and quality, but a great quality wine doesn’t guarantee that you will enjoy it.
Although following the above tips won’t make you an expert, it’s good general advice to better enjoy the wines you drink in order to get the most out of them. If you do find yourself wanting to expand your palate and wine knowledge – of course, here at Bottle Service we’re more than happy to help.
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