wine being poured into glasses closeup

How to Drink Wine: Expert Tips and Advice

Wine is a popular drink around the globe, and you’ll find endless variations to the creation of wine in addition to numerous varietals of wine with hints of different flavors.

When you’re just getting started drinking wine, it can be confusing to figure out how to properly consume this drink for maximum flavor and experience. Our guide gives you the rundown on all of the essentials about wine so you can understand this popular alcohol better and get started figuring out which variety of wine you prefer.

What Is Wine?

Wine is an alcoholic beverage that is created from the fermentation, aging, and filtering of grapes. There are almost endless variations you can make to wine throughout the process of its creation. Winemakers take into account factors such as types of grapes, harvest times, filtering decisions, and aging times when creating their products.

Wine is perceived as a classic drink, and the three main types of wine are white, red, and rosé.

White wines have an overall lighter mouthfeel and flavor, while red wines tend to be heavier in flavor and stronger in tannins due to the way they are produced. Rosé wine is the middle ground between white and red wines, and it offers a good introduction to red wines for someone who typically prefers white wines.

It can be hard to describe the exact flavor of wine, as there are many different types of wine made from different grapes and production styles. As a general rule, white wines are lighter, more fruity or floral, and slightly sweet, while red wines have more earthy or strong flavors, tend to be heavier, and linger on the tongue. Rosé falls in the middle of these flavors.

The six most important descriptors to keep in mind when tasting and evaluating wine include fruitiness, acidity, oakiness, tannins, sweetness, and body. These flavor descriptors will help you navigate the flavor profile of virtually any wine.

What Is the Alcohol Content of Wine?

Due to the large variety of wines on the market, there is also a wide range of alcoholic contents in this beverage. Most wines on the market will range between 5 percent and 23 percent ABV, with the average being around 12 percent ABV.

How to Serve Wine?

Wine has a slightly different serving method depending on the type of wine you are consuming. White wines should be served chilled, as this brings out the flavors best, while red wines are best served at room temperature. Most rosé wines are served chilled, and any wine with carbonation, such as prosecco, should also be chilled for the best taste and experience.

You will need a proper wine glass for serving wine; these glasses have round bottoms and wide brims that allow for aeration of the alcohol, plus stems that allow for swirling of the wine safely. Sparkling wines should be served in flutes.

Most wines are sealed with a cork, so you will need a corkscrew to open your bottle. If you don’t plan on drinking the entire bottle of wine in one sitting, you can purchase a topper to seal the wine and prevent it from going bad once opened. Opened wines should be refrigerated, even if the wine is red, as this slows down the oxidation process and preserves the wine for longer.

What Is a Serving Size of Wine?

The standard serving size of wine is a five-ounce glass, and a standard-sized bottle of wine will hold approximately five, five-ounce glasses. In restaurants or bars, you will typically be asked to choose between a six or nine-ounce pour of wine.

Can You Drink Wine Straight?

Wine is best consumed straight, as this is a drink that stands on its own. It’s not recommended to mix wine with other liquids, unless you are creating a specific recipe, such as sangria, which is a wine-based mixed drink. If you're looking for something you can mix that still has a wine-like flavor, cognac is a great option.

What Are the Best Mixers for Wine?

Wine is typically consumed best without a mixer, but if you are interested in mixing your wine to enhance your experience, you may want to try mixing it with fruit juices or lemon-lime sodas. These mixers make the wine slightly sweeter and give it more of a wine-spitzer taste, removing any bitterness or strong alcoholic flavor that you may not enjoy.

What Other Liquors Go Well With Wine?

We find that wine is best when enjoyed alone, but you can spice up your mixed drinks by serving wine as part of a cocktail alongside other liquors. The best liquor pairings for wine include vodka and tequila, and you can create fun recipes such as sangrias, wine-based margaritas, and other wine cocktails by mixing more neutral liquors with your favorite brand of wine. A great option is brandy, which has a similar flavor profile to red wine but more of a sweet aftertaste; it's the perfect after-dinner drink if you don't want a glass or red wine.

What Are the Best Wine Recipes?

The best wine recipes allow this beverage to shine through as the star. We recommend sangria recipes, as they can be made with white, rosé, or red wines, and they combine fun fruit flavors and other liquors.

To make a classic, easy red wine sangria, mix a bottle of dry, preferably Spanish, red wine into a large pitcher with three-quarters of a cup of orange juice, a few tablespoons of brown sugar, and cut-up pieces of oranges and apples. Add in at least a third of a cup of brandy, plus more to taste, and mix thoroughly. Chill your sangria and serve it over ice with more fruit for garnish.

How to Prevent a Wine Hangover?

As with many types of alcohol, it’s easy to get a hangover if you don’t pace yourself and ensure you aren’t overcoming your wine. Prevent a wine hangover by sipping slowly and savoring your drink, and by consuming plenty of water alongside your wine.

You can enjoy your wine with a nice meal to ensure you have a full stomach, as this helps to slow the effects of alcohol and can prevent hangover symptoms from occurring.

Love the Wine You’re With

close up of red wine being poured into glass

Wine is an incredibly popular drink throughout the world, and it seems there are no shortages of different varieties and flavors of wine.

As you become more familiar with wine and start to figure out which types you love the most, take the time to sip on this drink and savor the flavors. For a more unique wine experience, create wine-based cocktails and sangrias from your favorite brands to expand your wine-drinking horizons.

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