Swirling Wine Etiquette

For many people, swirling their glass of wine is an essential part of wine tasting. The swirling serves a purpose: it aerates the wine, opens it up, and allows the flavors to come alive. Before taking that first taste, aerating a wine can be the difference between enjoying the wine and hating it. So it’s fine to swirl your glass, just don’t be a snob about it.

What do we mean by not being a snob? Let us count the ways:

#1: When you initially swirl your glass of wine, there is simply no need to make a show about it. We all know that one wine drinker who takes this opportunity to show how wonderful their swirling technique is, like a majorette that finally has been given their big shot at a solo performance during halftime of the big game. Just stop it. Not only do you look ridiculous, but your over swirling is spraying wine everywhere.

#2: We get that swirling a wine helps improve the flavors, but at some point, the actions just become pointless, yet we’ve all come across that person who continues to swirl the wine post-tasting, as if they’re rubbing a genie’s lamp, hoping to turn what they believe is a dud into a winner.

The amount you are swirling is not going to make the wine taste that much better, and by continuing to do so, you are making everyone else at the table uncomfortable. You are also causing your companions to second guess their own tastes. Maybe they are enjoying the wine, so stop drawing attention to the fact that you may not be.

#3: Remember that time you were having a conversation with that person at a cocktail party and they kept swirling their wine in your face while talking to you? We get it, you’re a wine pro, now stop swirling the wine in our face. If you’d like to find a new person to talk to, please feel free, but there is no need to distract yourself from our small talk by swirling wine for your own amusement.

#4: And then there’s the person who is so overcome with the beauty of their swirling technique, that it is all they can concentrate on. They’re the individual who sits at dinner and instead of participating in the conversation, continually swirls and assess the wine. To love wine is a beautiful thing, but don’t let it take you away from wine’s true purpose, which is bringing people together. If you’re more involved with the wine than your companions, it may be time to find a new hobby.

Swirling wine is a necessary step in the tasting process, but don’t let it become your identity. No one likes to spend time with someone they feel is showy or trying to one-up them, so try your best not to be that person. It will make everyone around you enjoy the wine much more.

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