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Serving Wine in Restaurants

Updated on May 16, 2017

Serving wine in restaurants

Good restaurants have a specially trained waiter who is in charge of serving wine—a sommelier. This profession emerged in the Middle Ages in France, when the sommelier’s duty was to prepare and choose the beverages for the royal table. This must be a fine connoisseur of wines, able to characterize in terms easy to understand any wine and recommend the appropriate wine for the dishes ordered by the customer.

The bottle is brought to the customer corked, so that the customer can ascertain that this is his order and the wine has not been touched by anyone else. The wine is then opened on the table of the customer, and the cork is placed on the table or on a plate for the customer to verify its quality: he/she makes sure the cork does not have foul smells, has not crumbled and is not soaked in wine. Then the sommelier or the waiter pours out a small quantity of wine into the glass to be tasted. If the client is not satisfied with the quality, for instance, he may consider the wine spoiled or below the expected standard, then the wine must be replaced for no charge. If the customer is satisfied, then the waiter pours the wine out into the guests glasses, serving ladies first and the person who has ordered the wine last.

Serving Wine

Restaurant at Sunset Resort, Bulgaria
Restaurant at Sunset Resort, Bulgaria

Aeration of the wine

Wine can be compared to humans, since as time passes its chemical composition changes; for example, during production the wine eliminates carbon dioxide and absorbs oxygen; each wine has its own life span. Some wines only become better when they interact with air. This is generally true of the red wines with a high tannin concentration; when aerated their taste becomes smoother and more delicate. Young wines require longer aeration than aged wines. Some white wines, too, may require aeration. This process can be accelerated if the wine is poured out into a glass carafe with a wide neck. This procedure also helps separate the wine from the sediment, which develops inevitably after a long period of ageing.

Types of Red Wine : Pinot Noir Wine Facts

Uncorking the bottle

In the Middle Ages the cover of the bottle neck was made of lead and fixed by sealing wax. Since lead is quite noxious for the human body, there were frequent cases of wine poisoning. Today the caps are made of plastic or alluminium foil. The cap can be removed completely or just its upper part separated by using a special wine knife.

Then the bottle is uncorked. The cork is made of corkwood, which grows around the Mediterranean. Portugal is the largest corkwood producer, taking up about 50% of the market, followed by Italy, Spain, and Morocco. It takes the tree about 50 years to grow a thick enough bark to be used in cork manufacturing. The bark is first dried for several months, then boiled for one or two hours in order to kill all the germs, reduce tannins and increase elasticity. After drying the corkwood is cut up according to bottle sizes, while the residues are used in manufacturing pressed corks, which are employed for inexpensive or sparkling wines.

The bottle is opened by a corkscrew, but without piercing the cork through lest small cork crumbs fall into the wine. This does not influence the wine’s quality, it is but an esthetic precaution.

Types of White Wines : Sauvignon Blanc White Wines

Wine glasses

Each type of wine has its own serving glass, characterized by three elements: size, shape and glass quality. Regardless of the wine’s dress the glass has to be colorless, since it is important to assess the wine’s color. In order to assess the aroma quite large glasses are used; an exception to this rule are dessert wines, e.g. cherry, which are inherently aromatic and are consumed in small amounts. Red wines require glasses of 300-600 ml, while white wines can use 250-300 ml. No matter what the size of the glass, it must never be filled to the brim. Red wines must fill one-third of the glass, while white wines one half. Crystal glasses are not mandatory; plain glass is all right as long as it is not too thick. A glass with red wine may be warmed up in the palm of the hand in order to help it unfold its aroma more fully. Red-wine glasses narrow down at the top in order to concentrate at the mouth the wine’s aroma. For dry white wines narrow glasses are recommended, slightly widening at the top, which allows one to feel the fruitiness of the aroma and reduces the effect of the wine’s acidity. Wide glasses are best suited for barrel-aged wines, as such glasses increase the wine’s contact with air. Dessert-wine glasses can be of a variety of shapes but smaller in size than red- or white-wine glasses.

Wine serving and storage temperature

As far as the temperature of the wine served is concerned, the rule is as follows: the warmer the wine, the stronger its aroma as well as the sweetness and sourness of taste; the cooler the wine the more bitter and tart it is. Therefore, full-bodied red wines, with a high tannin content and aged for many years are served at 18 °С,

medium-bodied reds containing a medium tannin level—at 16 °С, while light red varieties of a fruity taste are recommended to be consumed at 12-14 °С.

Dessert and fortified wines are usually cooled down to 12-16 °С before being served.

A wine can be stored in an open bottle after it is poured out into a smaller vessel and tightly corked. This will reduce the amount of air interacting with the wine. The bottle is best stored in a cool and dark place at 12-16 °С, since light has a negative influence on the quality of the wine; the humidity in the storage place should be at least 70% in order to prevent the cork from drying.


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    • nikipa profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Eastern Europe

      Hey LensBaby! Great to see you here! I do appreciate your kind words and your visit! I am happy you found my hub about serving wine useful.



    • jill of alltrades profile image

      jill of alltrades 

      7 years ago from Philippines

      Wow, I learned so much about wine here!

      Thanks for sharing! Voted up and useful!

    • nikipa profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Eastern Europe

      Hey Ben! Great to hear from you! I am sure your wife will find something useful here. Thank you for your appreciation!



    • Ben Zoltak profile image

      Ben Zoltak 

      8 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

      Very cool Nikipa, and well rounded with lots of facts. My wife sells wine I'll be sure to show her this. Rated up!


    • nikipa profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Eastern Europe

      Thank you Dinkan! I am happy you liked it! :)

    • dinkan53 profile image


      8 years ago from India

      I'm having wine for so much years and doesn't know those things!! glad to read your interesting informatory hub. Excellent job and rating it up^^

    • nikipa profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Eastern Europe

      Thank you Mike for your nice and interesting comment! :)

    • MikeSyrSutton profile image


      8 years ago from An uncharted galaxy

      Wow, nice hub! Interesting and off the beaten path!

    • nikipa profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Eastern Europe

      Megavitamin, thank you for joining me and for the nice comment. I really love red wine as well.

      Wine made by my father probably is the best in the world. Pity I cant offer some of it to all my HB friends!

    • Megavitamin profile image


      8 years ago

      Very informative hub! I love wine, and I knew some of this information, but not the reason for the sommelier's way of serving. Great job and thanks for the new knowledge!

    • nikipa profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Eastern Europe

      Epigramman, your comments are so exceptional! :)

      Thank you for appreciation!

    • epigramman profile image


      8 years ago

      Well I am serving myself a glass of red wine right now as I write and marvel at your beautiful mind. I am smitten!

    • nikipa profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Eastern Europe

      Carol the Writer, thank you for sharing your thoughts with us!

    • Carol the Writer profile image

      Carolyn Blacknall 

      8 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Never thought about the corking and sealing. Glad we stopped using lead! This is excellent!

    • nikipa profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Eastern Europe

      JannyC, I do agree with you. Thank you for stopping by!

    • JannyC profile image


      8 years ago

      To me Wine is so elegante. Thanks for this informative hub.

    • nikipa profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Eastern Europe

      I am happy I was able to help!

      Thank you for reading and appreciating my work!

    • nirmal213 profile image


      8 years ago from cochin

      never knew this much of things about WINE...!!


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