How to Pour Wine Properly


Most people don't know the proper way to pour wine. If you are considering a job as a waiter or sommelier (wine steward), you must learn to serve wine in a precise manner. Those throwing a dinner party in their home can add a touch of elegance to the event by pouring wine properly. Use a variation of these waiters' guidelines for serving wine at home, substituting the "host" with your guest of honor.

Things You'll Need

  • Corkscrew with attached knife
  • Pocket knife (optional)
  • Clean napkin
  • Small silver plate (optional)
  • Wine glasses
  • Ice bucket (if serving white or sparkling wine)
  • Set the table with the appropriate glasses, whether serving a single wine or several. Use tulip glasses (tall, tapered, narrow-brimmed) for white wines; rounded or Rhine glasses for red wines (bulbous, short; for the fanatic, varieties for specific red wines exist), and fluted glasses (tall, very narrow-brimmed) for sparkling wines such as champagne.

  • Present the wine to the table, label first, for the host's approval.

  • Use the knife on the corkscrew (if it does not have one, use a pocket knife) to cut the foil wrapper below the lip on the spout of the bottle. Remove the foil and place it in your pocket. Wipe the bottle's top with a clean napkin.

  • Remove the cork with the corkscrew. Twist the corkscrew into the cork only deep enough that the final twist remains visible; this way it won't penetrate into the bottle and deposit bits of cork into the wine.

  • Leave the cork by the host's right hand for inspection for damage or mold, preferably resting it on a small silver plate. The host may sniff the cork for the scent of vinegar, though you can't judge the quality of a wine by sniffing a cork.

  • Pour approximately one ounce of wine into the host's glass for him to sample and approve.

  • Pour for the women first, starting with the eldest, going around the table in a clockwise manner, then the men in the same fashion, serving the host last. Fill the glass about halfway and twist the bottle when done pouring to prevent dripping.

  • Have an ice bucket on the table if serving white or sparkling wines, to keep remaining wine chilled. If any red wine remains in the bottle following pouring, leave the bottle on the table.

Tips & Warnings

  • Pour red and white wines into the center of the glass for the best presentation (it will initially splash about the glass attractively), but pour champagne and other sparkling wines into a tilted glass and against the side to preserve the bubbles.

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  • Photo Credit couple of wine glasses image by Andrey Kulygin from corkscrew image by Tomasz Plawski from serving red wine image by John Keith from champagne bottle in ice bucket image by Paul Retherford from
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