The wine tips I’m about to share with you will cover some of the more obscure bits of language and etiquette are known by any expert wine connoisseur. In fact, the wine world is packed with oddities.

For example, have you ever witnessed or heard of wine drinkers spitting out hundreds of dollars worth of wine? Yep. This is a normal occurrence at a professional wine tasting.

For those ready to fake it until they make it, here are 7 wine tips to make you sound like an expert.

1. When in doubt, just say, “Interesting.”

Say hello and welcome to the most non-committal adjective! If you don’t know what to say, just swirl your wine, give it a sniff, and simply say, “Interesting…” to yourself. It’ll buy you a bit of time while you remember the difference between a peach and a nectarine, or while you try to determine cherry flavors or tobacco.

2. Hold your glass by the stem or the base.

While this may seem obvious to some, only amateurs will be caught holding their glass by the bowl. It’s not snobby, I promise. This is entirely practical because the temperature of a wine is a big deal to the pros. Plus, it’s like a secret wave of people that all drive the same car, the secret handshake of wine pros.

3. Can’t smell the wine? It’s probably “closed”.

Most people can smell any wine, regardless of how subtle it is. But, some wines are seriously tough to sniff out aromas. There are several reasons for this. First, wines sit in a bottle for a year or more without any oxygen. In this state, chemical reactions that age wine pull other elements for the task. You can decant wine, especially red wine, to get the full effect, or just know it may need to sit in your glass for 5-10 minutes before drinking to let it "breathe."

4. Using the term “expressive” wins bonus points.

Is the wine super aromatic like a fresh spritz of perfume? Or, are the aromas bold and loud like your drunk cousin at a wedding? Just like your drunk cousin who won’t shut it at a wedding, it’s best to describe them as “expressive” instead of “they never stop talking. If “expressive” doesn’t suit your fancy, try: flashy, exuberant, vibrant, showy, bountiful, or lively.

5. Spitting is the classy thing to do.

The is often the weirdest for people to grasp. Spitting isn’t always necessary. But, if you’re going through several bottles or to multiple wineries in a day, spitting is an excellent idea. Not only will it keep you sober(ish) but, it’ll also keep you focused on tasting rather than simply drinking. I would advise practicing your spitting skills to keep it classy. Trust me, it makes a difference.

6. Wine isn’t “spicy".

“Spicy” is not a word to describe wine. Don’t try to make it a thing. It can get confusing when you consider how many spices come through tasting notes: anise, cloves, pepper, cinnamon, etc. Be more specific and use words like “peppery” or “leathery” when a spice taste is present. If a wine tastes sharp, it likely has high acidity so it is nice to know the difference.

7. A “hot” wine refers to high alcohol content.

Consider when you feel alcohol burning your throat and how the steam reaches your nose and spreads through your body. Like steam coming out of a tea kettle, that’s what I mean by “hot”. Alcohol level increases the overall perception of the body. Wines can range from alcohol levels of 5% to 24%. Now, that’s pretty high!

With these tips and tricks, you’re well on your way to faking it until you make it like a wine connoisseur.


Cheers,

Natalie