Last time we talked, we discussed how to order fancy (or not-so-fancy) wine, and the proper way to send it back when it’s all wrong. Today, we’re going to talk about the etiquette of serving wine in your own home, whether it be for a tasting party, nice dinner, or Torchwood marathon day with your BFF.
Now here’s the thing about serving wine in your home: It’s your home. Nobody expects you to be the perfect combination of sommelier and 50’s housewife. The best hostess puts forth an air of confidence and courtesy and sets up an atmosphere of informality and ease. In other words, be yourself and everyone will have a good time.
Here are some questions (and answers!) which have certainly crossed my mind, and probably crossed yours:
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- How much wine do I buy? Well, obviously, you never want to run out of wine. First of all, what would your guests drink? Second, BLASPHEMY. There should always be wine! Generally plan on one bottle per person. So if you have four people, and are buying two different wines, get two bottles of each. Does it seem like a lot? The worst thing that could happen if you buy too much wine is that you’ll have to drink more wine. This is hardly a tragedy.
- How do I know what people will like? Well, you could ask. That’s one idea. But if you’re on a time crunch, get red and white. People will typically be able to make some kind of sacrificing decision that way. “It’s not my favorite white, but I hate red!” (The person who says that can never be my friend. She wouldn’t survive.) If you’re buying more wine than just two bottles, get a sweeter and a drier version of each, red and white. Again, nobody needs you to be perfect, just easygoing!
- Am I supposed to pair it with food? You could. There are all sorts of guides on the Internet to pairing food and wine. But don’t get neurotic about it, just provide some kind of food. (Cheese is always good.) Alcohol and empty bellies are never a good combination.
- What glasses do I use? White wine glasses are the smaller, skinnier ones. Red wine glasses have the big bells. Sparkling wines typically go in coupes or flutes. If life is all about presentation, then it pays to have the proper glasses for your soiree. Glasses are $7 a box at a TJ Maxx or Marshall’s. Just go and get some. Instant class!
- How do I serve it? White wine should be chilled. Red wine is served at room temperature. You want to do approximately a 5 oz. pour. And remember, the host (that’s YOU) is ALWAYS served last. It’s just good manners.
- Can I put ice in my glass? God. No. But if one of your guests does, grin and bear it. OR think in advance and freeze some strawberries or blueberries. Again, instant class. Plus, it will help save those cheap glasses you just bought from breaking or scratching due to ice clinking around in there.
So there you go. Wine etiquette for those of us who just want to get a little tipsy with friends. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to call FedEx. They keep trying to deliver my case of vino while I’m at work.