9 Pro Wine Tips From Master Sommelier Alpana Singh

1. Invest in a decanter

You don’t need to spend a lot of money on one (under $50) but it will greatly enhance your wine drinking pleasure. It helps open up younger, tannic reds and anything served in a decanter automatically looks more expensive.

Sommelier Decanting Red Wine

2. Chill your red wines

Room temperature for most of us is 75-80 degrees which is way too warm for red wines. Place your reds in the refrigerator for 20 minutes to give reds a slight chill (aim for 55 degrees which is cellar temperature). It will enhance the fruit and aroma and the wine will have less of a bite.


3. Swirl your wines before drinking

What seems like an affectation of wine snobs actually serves a real purpose. Swirling helps open up your wine and also releases more aromatic components into the bowl which heightens the flavor. It is one of the easiest and most simple ways to increase your wine enjoyment. So remember, it’s all in the wrist!


4. Your next house wine is served by the glass

If you’re looking for a decent everyday wine for your house look no further than the by the glass selections at your favorite restaurant. Most by the glass wines can be purchased retail for under $20 a bottle and you know they’re good because a sommelier/wine expert picked them in the first place.

5. Take a photo

How many times have we discovered a tasty wine, wrote it down on a piece of paper only to lose it to the ages. Next time you find a wine you like, take a cell phone photo and you’ll have an easily accessible record next time you’re out shopping for wine.

Hand taking photo of Christmas tree and champagne glasses by smartphone

6. Do serve sparkling wines

Many of us save the bubbly for special occasions only but there is no rule in the book that says you can’t have sparkling wines just because it’s Tuesday. Sparkling wines also add a festive flavor to any cocktail reception or happy hour so skip the martinis and go for the bubbly!

7. Forget the blueberries, peaches and bananas

The easiest way to translate to the sommelier or wine sales clerk what wine you’re looking for is to talk about specific wines rather than abstract flavor notes. Your blueberry could be my raisin! Reference specific wines such as Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc or an actual brand name. This is much easier for us to interpret than smooth, dry or a wine without a bite.

8. Aerators

Perhaps they work, some swear by them but I’ve never noticed any difference. I feel you’re much better off pouring the wine into a decanter and giving it a good swish. Air is air!

9. Screwcaps

Are we still afraid of them? You shouldn’t be. Screwcaps are perfectly acceptable and they make our lives easier.


Check out Alpana’s wine recommendations in this month’s >>Sommelier Series<<

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