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Serving Rules of Thumb

Serving Etiquette

Nowadays, one might say that there are no rules: we start with the basics, but as you become more adventurous, don’t be afraid to let your imagination run wild.

Always taste the wine before pouring it for your guests to assure that it is in good condition. Tradition says that you should always serve ladies first, and further to that, serve the oldest ladies first – at least, if you feel confident that you know what order you should pour in for age (sometimes this is difficult). Another acceptable method is to pour in a clockwise direction, ending with the host. In any case, make sure that you can divide the bottle to be able to serve everybody at the table.

Serve the wine from the person’s right side, holding the bottle at the bottom so that the label is upright and visible to the guest. The “host” is always the last person to be served.

Wine is always at its best when it is served at the proper temperatures. If a wine is too warm or too cold, it may either lack flavour and aroma, or present off flavours and aromas.

Above all, you should never serve any wine at a temperature higher than the air in the room – especially for red wines, this may cause any volatile acidity to be amplified and lend an unpleasant tasting experience.

Quick guide

  Start with sparkling, if you have it. it wakes up your palate and gets people in a celebratory mood
  Dry wines are always served before sweet wines
  White wines should be served before red wines
  If you are serving a rosé, serve this before reds
  Young, lighter bodied wines before heavier wines
  If serving fortified wines, try to serve them last. Their higher alcohol content will create palate fatigue

Wine Temperature

Type of Wine Refrigeration (hours) Reference Serving Temperature
Celsius (°C) Fahrenheit (°F)
 Light Reds  1  12-16  54-61
 Medium-bodied Reds  –  14-17  57-63
 Full-bodied Reds  –  15-18  59-64
 Sparkling  4  5-10  41-50
 Light Sweet Whites  4  5-10  41-50
 Dry Light Aromatic Whites  2  10-12  50-54
 Medium-bodied Dry Whites  1.5  10-12  50-54
 Full-bodied Sweet Whites  1.5  10-12  50-54
 Full-bodied Dry Whites  1  12-16  54-61