Wine is a very popular drink and it is becoming increasingly popular all the time as people switch to it for its health benefits. But it is a complicated field and one that can often be a minefield to navigate. There are always questions of what wine to drink with which food and the sometimes seemingly pretentiousness of the experts. It can be a difficult space to move through, especially for the casual drinker who just wants something nice to drink while catching up with friends. Regardless of why you consume wine, or when, here are a few mistakes to avoid at all costs.

Never pretend to more qualified than you are

Tasting wine is an art and some people are very good at it. They train their palates and their noses to identify the subtleties and complexities that make up each cultivar. The experts are good at it. Always be willing to learn but never pretend to know more than you do. You will only end up looking like a fool. So, if you cannot tell an australian shiraz from a South African Pinotage, then don’t make out as you can. Pretty soon you will be found out by somebody who can tell the difference.

No room for snobbery

Wine appreciation is something that is learned. ‘Beginner’ drinkers, or those drinking more for effect than taste, will tend to opt for the sweeter wines. Dry wines, be they red or white, are acquired tastes. But just because you have acquired the taste doesn’t mean that you should be a snob about and look down on those who are still finding their way at the sweet end of the scale. Everybody starts somewhere, and more likely than not, you were once a consumer of the sweeter stuff. Don’t judge!

Show the bottle

If you are serving wine, be it at a restaurant or at home, it is always a good idea to pour the wine in front of the drinker – especially if you are offering up an expensive bottle of wine. This is particularly the case if you are in a restaurant but even at home, the rule applies. It is not bragging, it is just showing that the drink on offer is the real deal and not some cheap plonk masquerading as something else.

No gender assumptions

Avoid falling into the gender trap when offering wine. First of all, women don’t just like pink wine. Their palates are as sophisticated as those of their male counterparts and in many cases significantly more refined. Also, if a woman is a person who places an order, then whatever you do as a waiter or sommelier, don’t pour the taster for her male counterpart to try. That is a mistake that is frequently made, based on the assumption that male knows more and that he is paying, but both are very bad assumptions to make. If the female in a party orders the wine, then it is she who must do the tasting – anything else is completely remiss.  

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