If your knowledge of wine is limited my hope is that this post will assist in helping you to have a great wine experience at your next event.

There are many many wineries in the US…actually about 6,000.  This makes it pretty difficult to determine the kind of wine you want to serve.  Usually people have a toast with champagne and then wine is served with appitizers, the entree and desert.  What’s the difference between wine and champagne?  Champagne is actually sparkling wine (carbonated wine).  It is called champagne because it is from the Champagne district of France.

With the champagne toast out of the way lets get to the niddy gritty of the wine.  Here are a few things you should be aware of so that your guests can enjoy whatever wine you choose.

1.  Choose the right wine opener for you

2.  Select the appropriate glassware

  • Smell is the most important thing when it comes to wine” ..Kevin Zraly -Windows on the World Complete Wine Course
  • use crystal stemmed glassware or glass
  • did you know that the stem on the glass is to keep the heat from you hands from warming the wine in your glass. So you should hold the wine glass by the stem
  • Red wine is best served in a tulip shaped glass. The larger bowl assists in aerating the wine when you swivel it. The shape of the glass is similar to that of a balloon.  The average serving temperature for red wine is 63 -65 degrees (light reds cooler, dark reds warmer). Some people serve red wine at room temperature
  • White wine is best served in a slender glass with tapering crowns. The smaller shape allows air to circulate.  The average serving temperature for white wine is 40 degrees. Heavier wines should be served at a warmer temperature
  • The rim of the glass should be very very thin

3.  Uncork the wine and let it stand for a while before you serve it because the wine will taste better if you let it breathe before you drink it (Breathing and Decanting)

4.  Pour the wine directly into the center of the glass and fill it 3/4 of the way…this is to allow room when swivelling so that the wine does not spill

5.  Wash your wine glasses with warm water and let it sit to dry.  If you use dishwashing liquid, the scent usually remains in the glass as well as a residue and we do not want that.

6.  A basic wine glass collection usually includes several tulip-shaped, all purpose glasses and a few champagne flutes (of course)

7.  If you want to get funky with it, a more advance collection can includes  4 balloon-shaped glasses, 4 tulip-shaped glasses and several champagne flutes

8.  When storing your wine – keep it in a space that is not humid.  Warmer and more humid rooms will cause the cork to dry out and may also cause the wine label to mold

9.  Keep the wine in a dark place.  Light tends to spoil the flavor of the wine.  This is actually why wine is botteld in darker colored glass.

10. Keep the wine bottles at an incline on their sides. This is to avoid the cork from drying out by using the wine to keep it wet.    Clever!

My apologies if I am bombarding you with information!

Traditional Food and Wine Pairing:


  • Cabernet Sauvignon: Steak, lamb, roasts, dark chocolateand duck
  • Merlot: Grilled meats, barbeques and chicken
  • Pinot Noir: Lamb, roast beef, duck, salmon and tuna
  • Shiraz: Peppered red meats, sausage, stews and barbeque
  • Zinfindel:  Steaks, grilled meats and tomato based dishes
  • Barberra: Pizza, lasagna, Lemon Chicken and pasta


  • Chenine Blanc: Appetizers, cheese, shrimp, lobster, crab, asian cuisine and poultry
  • Dry Riesling: Appetizers, cheese, shrimp, lobster, crab, seafood with light sauce, grilled fish,poultry and pork
  • Sauvignong Blanc:  Appetizers, cheese, pasta with creamy sauce, oysters,shellfish, shrimp, lobster, crab, seafood with light sauce, grilled fish,poultry and pork
  • Chardonay: Strong cheese, appitizers, oysters, seafood with lite sauce, seafood with cream sauce, grilled fish, poultry and pork
  • White Reisling: Mild Cheese and chocolate
  • Pinot Grigio: Creamy sauces, turkey, shrimp and veal

So you just spent your precious time reading this post and I do thank you.  But I want to share a little secret.  I am sorry to say this but…experience is a great teacher.  The final choice is yours!  Find out what works best for you.  If you find a wine that you like, keep the label so that you have for future reference.

Below images via Waterford Wine and Spirits

pairing_chartApairing_chartD pairing_chartC pairing_chartB