There are quite a few fine points to correctly pouring a bottle of wine, but many of them are more important for a sommelier or professional wine server to know rather than the host of a home dinner party. That being said, everyone can benefit from these quick pointers to build confidence and pour with aplomb.

  • Don’t overpour. An easy way to know the correct amount is to pour up to the widest part of the bowl. On most glasses, that’s the 5-ounce mark.
  • Leave the wine glass on the table; there’s no need to bring it up to meet the bottle. Most likely, your friend or Aunt Marge is holding out the glass higher and higher, anyway, which brings us to…
  • Try to avoid touching the rim of the glass with the bottle. The lip of the wine glass is the most delicate part and it may chip, especially if you’ve already had a glass or two and are refilling with gusto. Plus, you don’t know where the bottle has been or who’s touched it.
  • Hold the wine by the bottle with one hand, not by the neck. If you want to get fancy, and the bottle has one, you can insert your thumb into the punt and cradle the bottle with your fingers. In your other hand, keep a napkin handy because…
  • When you’ve finished the pour, tilt the bottle up and—regardless of how smooth your wrist-twist is, a dribble is still possible—use the napkin in your other hand to wipe away drips.

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