Wine Service; the dos and the do not dos. PART 1

Updated: Apr 10, 2021

Part 1: Please note: this article will be released in several sections. Each part will be a new FOR THE VIN blog post, and all the sections will be combined in their entirety as a booklet. It will be available to read online or download in Wine-A-Reads bookshop at after all sections have been released.


Wine has a long and storied past that parallels the advancements of human civilization. It is one of the first products to be involved in long-distance trading and shipping by the Phoenicians, then the Egyptians, the Ancient Greeks, and eventually became a prominent industry with the Romans, who continued its spread across the old world of Eurasia. Through this history, the protocols of the service of wine have developed into widespread etiquette which is ingrained in the service industry and society in general. There are many rules which most people are aware of, but may not truly understand. Modern restaurant wine service is a simple procedure that has many subtle conventions that can elevate the process of wine consumption from the basic notion of caloric ingestion, to an experience of pleasure, a notion of sophistication, and a shared feeling of enjoyment. Having the knowledge to discuss the wine you are serving is a boon that can not be overlooked, but the time it takes to absorb that amount of information can be daunting. In the meantime, you can perfect your wine service technique to one which exudes confidence, poise, and grace. This article has a list of rules to follow to reach that level of service expertise that will put your guests at ease, knowing they are in good hands. It also has tips and techniques for enhancing the overall experience, and a smattering of common pitfalls to avoid. To impart the greatest amount of knowledge and remain inclusive to any reader, I will begin with the most basic bits of required knowledge and work towards the more advanced.


1. Wine Bottle Anatomy

2. Wine Not?

3. Selection and Retrieving

4. Presentation

5. Foil and Wax

6. Crank, lever, and pull

7. Analysis

8. Sediment & Decanting

9. The Pour

10. Finishing a Bottle

Knowing the correct terminology is helpful in discussing any topic, and wine is no different. I am sure that you have seen a wine bottle before and know what a label is. Some of the other parts of the bottle may not have been named to you before. For example, the punt is the indent in the bottom of the bottle. Almost all wine bottles have one, of varying depth. They allow the surface contact to be a ring, instead of a flat surface, which, somewhat counter-intuitively, creates a more stable base. The origin of punts is from the glassblowing technique of pressing-in the seam at the bottom so there is no protrusion.

They also increase the strength of the base, which is most notably important in sparkling wine, due to the pressure inside the bottle.