7 Mistakes Wine Drinkers Make

And how to avoid them


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7 Mistakes Wine Drinkers Make
We are all guilty for these mistakes wine drinkers make because we all make them. I know some might argue that it should just be about the wine and how it tastes, which is true, but by knowing, recognizing and avoiding these 7 Deadly Sins of wine, you might enjoy that glass even more!

Getting the most out of each bottle is important because, and lets be real here, most wines are luxury items. Wasting an opportunity with wine is wasteful at its least and disrespectful at its worst. After all, a lot of people put a ton of effort into ensuring that they put the best juice possible in every bottle. 

So avoid these common wine mistakes and take advantage of those efforts. Besides, it’ll make the wine taste better too!

Photo courtesy kenudigit via Flickr/CC

Mentioned in this article


  • Snooth User: bobjdan
    119125 1

    Everyone I know serves reds too warm, especially room temperature wines in the summer. My question though is how do you decant a wine and have it not be too warm by the time you drink it? Chill it in the fridge first or????????

    May 02, 2012 at 1:27 PM

  • Whatever would be the reason to STORE reds at 75* ? It is easier to let a cool wine come UP to room temp than to try and chill a wine that has been sitting for long periods at 75*. Restaurants seem to make this mistake quite alot, and it just ruins it for me.

    May 02, 2012 at 1:34 PM

  • While your general point about pairing is well taken, artichokes do not make wines taste bitter. Try it. The effect is like the green after-image of a red light. Being bitter themselves, they make even the dryest, most bitter wine become weirdly sweet.

    May 02, 2012 at 2:27 PM

  • Snooth User: ccarson8
    887485 7

    This last Christmas my wife and I received a "beverage cooler" which includes a spinning feature which helps to cool a wine with circulated ice water to the "perfect" temperature, assuming you time it correctly. The packaging claims the spinning doesn't effect the quality of the wine, but after reading about "travel shock" I am concerned that it may be causing the same effect. Can anyone add some insight?

    May 02, 2012 at 2:28 PM

  • Carson - if the wine is red and unfiltered, meaning it will likely have sediment in thebottom, "spinning" is the LAST thing you want to do to it. Sediment isnt harmful, but isnt something you want in your glass or mouth. Would be better used for whites.

    May 02, 2012 at 2:40 PM

  • Snooth User: Richard Foxall
    Hand of Snooth
    262583 4,006

    Spinning wine is bad if the wine has sediment. Swirling it in your glass is fine because you've poured it, leaving the sediment behind. Spinning it in one of those cooler things? I think it's unnecessary.

    Many people have no choice but to store wines in a home that is above ideal drinking temperature. To cool wines stored at room temp, you can 1) put it in the fridge for 20+ mins or 2) put a VacuVin cooling jacket on the bottle--I do this almost every time I open a red from the house and even from the basement if it's a little warm that day. If you are decanting a wine hours before dinner, consider cooling the actual decanter first! You can run cold water on the outside, put it in the fridge, o,r if it's a traditional one liter carafe, use the VacuVin champagne jacket on it--you can leave that on the decanter after the wine is poured, too. BTW, the VacuVin jackets work poorly with whites--they just don't have enough ability to cool 65 degree wine to a cool enough temp. But they work great with reds.

    But don't fuss too much about exact temp--just don't serve reds at 70 and up if you can avoid it.

    May 02, 2012 at 2:41 PM

  • BOBJDAN -- As far as serving reds at "room temp," understand that when that "rule" was instituted, back in the 1800s, room temp was closer to 50 than 70. So if you are serving your reds at today's room temp, you are starting out too warm. If you start with a bottle that has been chilled or stored at 55*, decanting it 30 mins before dinner wont heat it up too fast unless you are decanting it in the kitchen while cooking.

    May 02, 2012 at 2:44 PM

  • Snooth User: mkbmaine
    310810 2

    While wines have no breath, they do need time to breathe. ; )

    May 02, 2012 at 3:00 PM

  • Snooth User: teddz
    880703 39

    Bobdjan - I've read a simple "15 minute rule" somewhere on wine temperature: most whites are served to cold and could benefit from 15 min outside the fridge before serving. Most reds are served too warm and could benefit from 15 mins inside the fridge before opening. Maybe Greg remembers where this rule comes from (hey, maybe HE wrote it).
    The one additional abuse I would note (though of course never practiced myself!) is letting simple white wines hang around too long. Almost every friend I have, at some time or other, has pulled out a botle of something white that was upwards of 4 years old and asked me if I think it's still OK to drink. Maybe not a problem for people who read this, but many out there are wasting good bottles this way.

    May 02, 2012 at 3:01 PM

  • Snooth User: teddz
    880703 39

    And if you'd like a fun demonstration of Rule #1, take a bottle of a white you enjoy, and put some in small container (like a half bottle) and immerse it in icewater for a good long time (say, 30 minutes). Then taste it side-by-side with the wine served at fridge temperature or slightly warmer. You'll think they're two different wines (I've done this at component tastings, with temperature as a "component.") Of course, depending on the wine and your individual preferences, you may like ice cold better! Some folks also only like (beer from a frosted mug, and ice cubes in their water even in January in Minnesota..

    May 02, 2012 at 3:08 PM

  • Snooth User: papa g
    797255 1

    I live in tucson where it tend to get pretty hot. My a/c is set at 80 and i store my wines a room temp, should i be worried about my reds being to hot?

    May 02, 2012 at 4:05 PM

  • For oily fish,go with Pinot Noir or Gruner Veltliner.

    May 02, 2012 at 4:36 PM

  • Even foods considered unfriendly food partners have their matches. Artichokes and aparagus go well with Condrieu, for example.
    May 02, 2012 at 6:18 p.m.

    May 02, 2012 at 6:19 PM

  • Snooth User: ednovak
    816597 28

    I recently tried something interesting. Poured a red straight from the bottle stored at room temperature (basement temp, around 65). Then immersed the bottle in ice water for 5 minutes, poured a glass, and re-immersed the bottle for another 5 minutes, then poured a glass. While I expected much more dramatic affects, the middle pour enjoyed a much fuller boutique and was an improvement over the room temperature glass. FWIW...

    May 02, 2012 at 6:21 PM

  • Excellent and allows us to think and learn.Congrats for such a compilation.All points,though so simply said are important.sidd banerji,wine writer,mumbai,india

    May 02, 2012 at 8:58 PM

  • Snooth User: Angelica26
    1063840 3

    I would like to know what is the correct temperature to storage white wines and red wines. Considering that I am from a warm country, Brazil, I leave the wines (red and whites) in a Cave at a 8 C (centigrades) temperature. Is that too cold? Thanks

    May 03, 2012 at 8:26 AM

  • Snooth User: indieke
    862959 3

    Honestly those big glasses, can be a turn off! That big open one on the picture, would not always do any good. Because the aroma's of the wine will not be captured as well by your nose, If it would be smaller on the top and larger in the middle would be much better!

    May 03, 2012 at 11:36 AM

  • Snooth User: indieke
    862959 3

    Angelica, the best temperature is between 12 and 14 °. Like said above, too cold is better then to hot. If it would not colder then this, your wines would be in room temperature a bit longer before you enjoy them.

    It can give red wine a bit of a shock, what is important also is if the temperature in your cellar does not have too much lows and ups.....

    Should not worry too much, but better it not gets colder then this!

    May 03, 2012 at 11:40 AM

  • Snooth User: Angelica26
    1063840 3

    Thank you so much for answering me so fast! The temperature you said above is for red and white? Both?And for how long should a wine rest before serving? Ive been in Vancouver in february and each and every restaurant let the wine rest. This doent happen here at all... Thank you one more time!

    May 03, 2012 at 12:07 PM

  • Snooth User: teddz
    880703 39

    Angelica, your wines will age more slowly at a temperature of 8 degrees (simple chemistry principle). If you are mostly storing "everyday" wines at this temperature to prevent them from spoiling, it doesn't really matter. But if you are storing wines like Bordeaux for the future, then it will have a large effect. Your wnes could take 50% longer to mature if stored at 8 degrees compared to at 12 to 14 degrees. So if you have a 2005 Bordeaux which is supposed to be "ready to drink" in 2015-2020, you should probably wait until 2020. I hope you are young (not like me :- )

    May 03, 2012 at 12:22 PM

  • This was one of the more entertaining forms of wine education. May have to adopt a few for the TR.

    May 03, 2012 at 2:25 PM

  • Snooth User: Stevern86
    909211 36

    Greg, I agree that wines are generally more durable than most of us think. Heat is the enemy. I have a passive cellar and it ranges between 66F and 78F. My wines age a little faster and i rarely keep ant=ything more than 10 years because of this. Conversely, I have lost nothing 10 years old and under. I am 55, old enough that I don't really want to cellar wine any longer that.

    May 03, 2012 at 11:33 PM

  • In reply to the v. first Q fm "bobjdan":

    When we have a wine at home that will benefit fm decanting, we often BOTH pre-chill the wine & then put the decanter back in the fridge prior to serving. Having a separate "timer" in the kitchen &/or on a beeper-watch 'just for the wine' helps prevent us fm 'over-chilling'.

    Another thing we do when temperatures outside are below 65 degs F & above 35 degs F is to just put the decanter on a table outside on the screened in porch - making room in the kitchen & fridge for other things.

    Re. 'serving temperature' of wines:

    We've been drinking & collecting wine for over 30 yrs & highly recommend "Hugh Johnson's Pocket Wine Book" (updated annually & our family holiday 'stocking stuffer!) For about $15 it provides a wealth of info for any 'level' of wine consumer.

    'The book has an easily readable chart on the inside back cover with a short note that says in part: "No single aspect of serving wine makes or mars it so easily as getting the temperature right."

    Also agree 100% with 'Heartsleeve's" note re. "serving reds at "room temp: "understand that when that "rule" was instituted, back in the 1800s, room temp was closer to 50 than 70. So if you are serving your reds at today's room temp, you are starting out too warm."

    At home if we know that a wine's too warm prior to serving, depending on how much time we have before serving, we sometimes put it in the freezer with a reusable iced 'sleeve' around the bottle (you can find them 'plain' or 'decorated' & we just keep a few in the freezer all the time) ... PLUS there are now 'fake' ice cubes that you can just drop in the wine glass! We've got some 'plain square ones' along with some 'golf balls' friends gave us as a gag-gift! After use, just wash, rrinse & dry & put them back in a small plastic container in the freezer along with the 'sleeves'.

    When dining out, we have no qualms about asking for too-warm red wine to be served in a chiller. The 'squeaky wheel' is the one that usually 'gets the grease' ... so it's important as paying customers for us ALL to speak up & tell restaurant Mgrs/Owners where their wine service can be improved. Those who respond positively ensure our continued patronage & 'everybody wins'.

    May 05, 2012 at 3:49 PM

  • Thanks for mythbusting myths about wine. Very much appreciated.

    Jenny from

    May 10, 2012 at 6:18 PM

  • Snooth User: Honkkis
    520060 3

    Couple of things come to my mind having read the 7 mistakes and some of the responses to the article:
    1. Wine glass size matters. however, it does not alway need to be a huge bowl. Every wine type seem to work differently in different glass. Just as a simple example think of champagne. It can be served in a flute, or as quite often in USA, in flat open glass. In this case flute preserves the bubbles and the aromas while the flat glass, well makes the champagne flat very quickly.
    2. The amount of wine poured in a glass. In the service industry people tend to pour the glasses full which prevents the wine from breathing. I prefer less in the glass to get more of the aroma out of the wine. If you have an expensive wine and pour the glass full, you could just as well be drinking grape juice.

    May 18, 2012 at 12:34 PM

  • Snooth User: hidesert47
    1100675 8

    "Breathe" and "breath" have always been two distinctly different words, one a verb, one a noun.

    May 18, 2012 at 4:20 PM

  • Snooth User: Kit Cosper
    1102012 24

    While I'm far from an oenologist I'm proud to see that I avoid all of these - but there's one that I think is missing that I am guilty of - holding on to a wine for too long. Not an issue for most reds, but I find myself holding on to that last bottle of a particular white for the "perfect occasion" and the next thing I know (a few years later...) it's well past prime. I found a 2 zone wine cabinet on scratch-n-dent, so temp isn't a problem. Paring is based largely on experience, so the only problem I see with that is not learning from your mistakes. :-)

    May 21, 2012 at 1:03 PM

  • Snooth User: atonalprime
    Hand of Snooth
    157790 1,416

    I really appreciate your suggestion #8 to try another bottle -- one of the best things I've ever decided to do is to buy 2 or 3 bottles of one particular wine. I do this with around 75% of my wine purchases now, and its VERY educational in realizing bottle variance. I just experienced this last night with #2 out of 3 bottles of 2002 Los Rocas Garnacha. #1 was oxidized because of a bad cork, but drinkable -- completely forgettable. #2 was downright awesome, great cork seal and a beautiful, deep red with a rusty rim. My drinking buddy was instantly converted from thinking that last week I served him "bad and spoiled" wine...just "not so good" wine.

    Jul 11, 2012 at 11:57 AM

  • Greetings - I recently relocated to the Philippines (I'm from the U.S. - I'm a writer, by occupation) and I have to adjust myself to a whole new set of wine offerings. Spain is the major influence here (along with South Africa). I truly enjoy Greek wines and California wines. Unfortunately, the older ports that I enjoyed in the U.S. are nearly non-existent, out here. Since I live out in the provinces, having wine shipped to me is a bit of a problem, as well. As a result, I'm beginning to explore the wines in the duty-free stores in Olongapo, Zambales - where the U.S. military base used to be located. I'm sure to have a few questions as time goes by. I'm very appreciative of this site.

    Jul 25, 2012 at 10:13 AM

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    Jun 10, 2014 at 5:09 AM

  • Hot wine? I have never heard of such a thing. I know that white is supposed to be refrigerated and red, served at room temperature.

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    Jun 20, 2014 at 2:13 AM

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