An Amateur’s Guide to Wines

Not everyone’s a wine snob, which can be confusing for those who are. Few things are as cringe-worthy as listening to an amateur attempt to order a prime bottle of wine with dinner, only to butcher the pronunciation or choose a vintage that’s subpar compared to many other potential selections.

For the wine amateur, there are a few things you need to know about wine if you ever hope to become a knowledgeable wine connoisseur. Consider and absorb the following points.

Room temperature serving

Red wine is not made to be consumed cold, which is why it’s bewildering to those who drink wine regularly when an otherwise delectable red is served chilled. Room temperature is how you store and how you serve a bottle of red.

The correct room temperature for a bottle of red is anywhere between 58 and 65 degree Fahrenheit. Chilling a bottle of red causes it to taste odd and unpleasant for the average wine connoisseur.

Chilled wine serving

White wine should always be served chilled. This doesn’t mean it should be served at near freezing temperatures — just chilled. The proper temperature for a bottle of white wine at serving is anywhere between 35 and 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

Checking the cork

Many amateurs believe that the appropriate method for checking the cork on a bottle of wine is to sniff it. This is a horrible misconception.

Your job when a waiter hands you the cork is to squeeze it to check for crumbling or dryness. Both indicate that the bottle was not properly sealed and stored, and therefore the wine is a dicey proposition for imbibing.


White wines do not require decanting. However, some of the older red wines will require time to breathe before being served. Many believe that simply opening the cork and allowing the bottle to breathe is enough.

But it’s not. You must purchase a decanter and allow your wine to sit in it and breathe for a while before you serve. This is how the wine aerates best and achieves its optimum taste.

Wine accessories

If you truly wish to become a connoisseur of wines, you should possess the appropriate wine accessories. This includes quality glasses, wine openers, and decanters. Wine Reserve is one of the best places to purchase the accessories you need to serve wine appropriately.

There is so much to learn about wine if you want to become truly knowledgeable about it. You won’t learn it all in a year, but it’s the kind of knowledge that can be a terrific pleasure to develop over time.

An Amateur's Guide to Wines 2
Anna Johansson
Anna is a freelance writer and researcher from the Olympia, WA area who loves to obsess about weird topics and then write about them. When she isn't writing, she is outside on her bike and comtemplating her eventual trip to graduate school.

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