Serving Wine: Tips & Facts

Serving wine the proper way will make the wine taste even better. When you are drinking wine at home, it is fun to know how to serve wine like a pro. In this guide we give you the basics about serving temperature, decanting and how to pour the wine.

Serving wine pouring into glass

Published April 14th 2020

To enjoy a glass of wine you just need to open the bottle and pour it into a glass, right? Most people know how to drink wine, but if you pay attention to a few more details, your wine will taste even better.

The right wine temperature

Temperature is crucial when serving wine. Few factors impact the taste of wine as much as the temperature. Wine tastes different at different temperatures. If it's too cold, many of the delicate aromas disappear. If it's too hot, the wine looses its freshness. Many wine labels indicate the right serving temperature but if not, you can follow these guidelines: 

If you want to know more you can read our blog post about serving temperature for wine.

Open the bottle or decant the wine

Many red wines should be decanted. This means that the wine is poured into a jar or wine decanter 30-60 minutes before it is served. By doing this, the wine gets aerated and will taste better. When the wine gets to "breathe" you will be able to smell and taste its aromas and the tannins will be more smooth. This is especially important with young red wines with a lot of structure and tannins, such as Nebbiolo, Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon. If you don't have a decanter, you can simply open the bottle and let the wine breathe an hour before serving it. 

Use proper wine glasses

Wine tastes better if it is served in proper wine glasses. There are certain wine glass shapes that are better specific wine styles and grapes. For example, a full-bodied red wine will taste better if it is served in glasses especially made for this wine style. This glass is different from those which are suitable for aromatic light-bodied red wines. For beginners, this might be confusing and unnecessary. As a start, it is enough to have different glasses for red, white, sparkling and dessert. Avoid stemless wine glasses, as the heat from the hands will heat up the wine inside the glass. 

Serve without spilling

You don't have to work in wine service to know how to pour wine professionally. Pouring wine in a fine dining restaurant is an art that requires good knowledge of wine wine service etiquette. When serving wine at home, you can get inspired by the serving techniques in the restaurants. 

  1. Have a napkin or a table cloth nearby to wipe off any dripping when pouring. 
  2. Many sommeliers hold the bottle with the wine label facing outward. This is of course not essential, but it is considered polite as other people are able to see which wine you are pouring. 
  3. Put the wine glasses on the table when you are pouring the wine. Do not hold the glass in your hand when you are serving. If you hold it in your hand, the risk of spilling is higher. 
  4. Look directly into the wine glass you are about to pour wine into. Pour the wine with confidence in one motion. 
  5. Do not overfill the glass. It can be a difficult to know how much wine to pour in a glass, but if you are serving at home you should try to fill the glass with approximately 15 centiliters of wine. This is a standard wine pour.
  6. When you pour the desired amount, stop pouring by rotating the bottom side of the bottle and lifting the bottle away from the glass. By doing this little trick, the bottle catches the tiny drips of wine. Here, you can also use a napkin to decrease the dripping. Do not lift the wine bottle up and down while pouring.

How much is a standard wine pour?

When serving wine, it is important that you make sure not to overfill the glass. A standard glass of wine should contain approximately 15 cl (5 oz) of wine. Most wine glasses are designed according to this standard measure. The standard serving for a dessert wine and fortified wine is 6 cl (2 oz). For wine tastings, a standard pour is approximately 7.5 cl (2.5 oz), which is half of a standard pour.

How many glasses in a bottle of wine?

A standard glass of wine should contain approximately 15 cl (5oz) of wine. A normal wine bottle contains 75 cl (25.3 oz), which gives 5 standard glasses. When serving wine at home, you don't measure the exact amount of wine per serving and it is common that a standard wine bottle gives approximately 5-6 glasses.