So, you want to be a wine expert huh? Well, all you need to do is follow these five simple steps to wine-snob glory. Impress your friends!

Don’t strangle your glass.

Ideally, one should hold a glass of wine by its stem or base, allowing for a fair judgement of the clarity of the wine. If a glass is held elsewhere, fingerprints can make a wine appear deceptively clouded. Also, in the case of wines that are served chilled, improper placement of the drinker’s hand can unintentionally warm a glass.

There’s more to wine than just being red or white.

Yes, believe it or not, the aesthetic value of a wine does impact its overall quality for the experienced drinker. White wines should range from a pale yellow to a golden yellow in appearance. Typically, younger, lighter wines appear to be paler, while richer wines will present a more golden color. If there appears to be a brownish hue to a white, this is an indication that the wine has become oxidized.

As for reds, younger, lighter wines will have more pink edges when poured, while heavier reds can range in color to a saturated, deep purple.

Just to be clear …

While the clarity of some wines may be easier to judge than others, this is a key component to judging a good wine. Whites can readily be observed just by looking through the glass for clarity, while reds should be judged on the vibrancy of their color. 

Swirling isn’t just to seem fancy.

When most of us hear the words “wine tasting” we will instantly be met with mental images of an older distinguished man or woman with their nose stuck up in the air swirling a glass of wine with a sense of haughty distaste. However, there is a purpose to the swirl. This act allows for all the aromatic components of a wine to be readily enjoyed by the drinker.

Smell matters, too.

Once the swirling has been done, a wine is ready to be experienced by smell. One should inhale deeply when smelling a wine in order to be met with the complex aromas that are unique to every glass. One should avoid wines that have a musty or stale-smelling odor. This is an indication of a wine that has been “corked” and is unpleasant for the drinker.