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Wine Etiquette Questions You've Been Too Afraid to Ask

By Georgia Spanos

10 May, 2019

Navigating proper wine etiquette can be a minefield, whether you're the host or the guest. Here are the entertainment dos, and entertainment dont's, to ensure you're prepared for all parties to come.

Dinner events, engagements and housewarmings are just some of the many parties where wine etiquette is critical. Even after you’ve decided what to wear and how to get there, you still must consider the wine — and all those protocols that come with it. Here are some wine-related questions often pondered at parties, finally answered. Let Halliday raise your wine etiquette this year so you can become the most valued guest at the party.

Party Wine

  • CAN YOU GIFT AN AFFORDABLE BOTTLE OF WINE? 

Absolutely. The relationship between wine quality and price has long been misconstrued, and as many are becoming increasingly aware, good wine doesn’t have to break the bank. Just look at James Halliday’s Top 100 Wines of the Year list, showcasing dozens of highly rated bottles under $30. A standout bottle of white that’s always well received is the 2018 Singlefile Great Southern Riesling priced at $25. As for red, the 2017 Hoddles Creek Estate Yarra Valley Pinot Noir for $24 is a winner.

  • WHAT WINE DO YOU BRING TO A BYO RESTAURANT?

It can be tricky deciphering what wine to bring when you’re unsure on the food that will be served exactly. In these instances, pick a versatile wine that won’t dominate flavours – like pinot grigio or rosé. Don’t forget to pride your accompanied bottle at the dinner table. Not only will your wine choice offer conversational topics and knowledge exchange, but a personal touch by all makes for a sentimental sitting. And what better way to connect with others than through the wine you’ve brought along with you.

  • IS IT OKAY TO BRING AN UNUSUAL WINE TO THE PARTY?

Discussing and sharing wine interests can do no wrong, and if you’ve discovered a bottle, style or label that’s taken your heart, absolutely share it with others. You can’t expect all to fall as hard as you have, yet sharing wine among friends and family is a joy.

  • SHOULD YOU BRING TWO BOTTLES IF YOU’RE GIFTING ONE?

It should never be expected that the wine you gift will be opened that evening, although this may likely be the case. Always come prepared with an additional bottle to open just in case that special bottle gets stored away.

  • IF YOU’RE ON POURING DUTY, HOW FULL SHOULD GLASSES BE?

Wine glasses should be a third full, with the rest of the glass free for swirling to lift the wine’s aromas. This will help people to fully appreciate the example before them, with aromas just as important as the flavours.

Pouring Wine

  • SO, YOU’VE SPILT SOME RED WINE. NOW WHAT?

Yes, the worst has happened, and not only are you the centre of attention, but you’re now also fearful that someone’s carpet has been ruined. To relieve the drama and remove the wine, use a white cloth to blot as much of the liquid off as possible, then pour cold water on the spot to dilute it. Continue blotting until no more can be removed. Using a 3:1 ratio, mix baking soda with water and apply to the area before vacuuming to finish. Now that’s a party trick.

  • WHAT DO YOU BRING IF YOU OR THE HOST DO NOT DRINK ALCOHOL?

Have you ever heard of alcohol-free spirits? They’re a popular drink that’ve sparked much interest lately and work exactly as spirits do – minus the inclusion of alcohol. Mixed finely with refreshing sodas and fruits, they’re an exciting choice for non-alcohol drinkers. If you're after low-alcohol wines, there are plenty of fantastic bottles available, too.

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