Do you need a better understanding of some of the bizarre things that occur when it comes to wine? Have a burning wine question? Have you often felt trapped during a wine conversation because you had no idea what they were talking about?  Do you have a burning wine question? Keep reading; we’ll help you out!

wine questions

At what temperature should I be serving my wine?

When it comes to temperature, there is a very fine line between the temperature that will ruin the wine’s flavors and temperature that will enhance it greatly.

Red wine should be served between 15°C and 18°C (59°F – 65°F). Anything above that will cause the flavors to become flat and the alcohol to be overwhelming.
White wine, however, should be served at around 5°C (41°F) and never lower, or the acidity will be extremely pungent.

How should I store my wine?

Ideally, a wine fridge would keep your wine at the perfect temperature. However, keeping wine in a cool, dark place (without moving it if it is long-term) will ensure the wine’s quality is maintained. The wine should be kept on its side, and the temperature should be regulated.

Why is a wine stored on its side?

This is a common wine question. For the wine to last, the cork needs to stay moist. A dried-out cork will result in an unpleasant, musty-like wine. If the wine will be consumed within a couple of weeks, storing it upright is perfectly fine. However, the cork will remain moist for about five years, so you really don’t need to worry about storing wine on its side unless you want to store wines for longer than that.

Do winemakers add flavor to wine?

Winemakers do add a number of additives to wine to help stabilize, preserve clean or ferment it. However, the flavors and aromas that come forth occur naturally due to the chemical compounds. There are some winemakers that do add ingredients to increase certain flavors – but in most countries, adjusting wine that way is illegal.

So how do wines get these different flavors and aromas?

The chemical compounds that occur when grapes are fermented are the same compounds found in some food. So, when you taste chocolate or berry in your wine, it isn’t actually chocolate you taste, but the chemical compounds found within chocolate. Make sense?

The Ultimate Wine Question: What are tannins?

Tannins are not found in white wine, only reds. This is because red wines are fermented with their skins and seeds. Bitter compounds are extracted during fermentation, which is similar to ones found in black tea. These are the tannins. They make red wines taste like red fruit, and they also give red wine its drying sensation.

What are “wine legs?”

Have you ever swirled a glass of wine and watched the thick syrup-like liquid on the inside of the glass? Well, that thick liquid, known as the legs, is from the alcohol present in the wine – and the sweeter and higher in alcohol the wine is, the thicker the legs will be and the longer it will take to run down your glass.

How can I learn about wine?

Find resources: There are many books, notes, blogs, and videos easily accessible today to help anybody who wants to learn about wine, viniculture, and production. It’s best to start with the basics. The best recommendation we have is to take a wine course at a local school. There are wine schools located across America.

Practice wine tasting: Regular tastings and making notes will also have a great benefit to you. When tasting wine, have some kind of resource available to you about the grape varietal and which flavors you should be tasting. With practice, you will be able to train your palate to find the different flavors and aromas.

How long can I keep an unopened wine?

How long wine lasts largely depends on the quality of the wine. Generally, 5 years is a safe bet, but you can always check on the wine labels to indicate whether the wine has some aging potential. Cheap wines are never good for long-term-keeping, and pricier wines generally keep well.

How to store an opened bottle of wine?

To keep the quality of the wine, you need to be sure to get as much air out. This can be done by using a store-bought wine pump. It is also important to note that putting the cork back will help the wine last – but be sure to put the cork in the way it was! Once properly sealed, the wine should be kept in the fridge.

What wine should I collect?

This is a difficult wine question to answer. When it comes to keeping wine for a long time, there are a few things to consider.

You need to be aware of whether the wine has aging potential. This can be done by researching the particular wine. Generally, expensive wines and wines with extremely prominent tannins have great aging potential. But when deciding which wines are worth collecting, it is always best to consider why you want to collect them and whether they are unique and interesting enough to keep.

Why do people put a spoon in open sparkling wine?

Nobody truly understands why it works – but most people swear by it: Placing a teaspoon in a bottle of sparkling wine will ensure that the bubbles in the bottle last longer. However, it doesn’t work any better than just putting it in the fridge.

An Age-Old Wine Question: What are sulfites?

Sulfites are a natural substance found in many dried fruit and foods. In the case of wine production, it is added to ensure the wine can be preserved for longer. They are not harmful, despite the bad press.

What is decanting and what is its purpose of it?

Wine decanting is the act of pouring wine into a jug-like glass container that forces air throughout the wine. Allowing air to move through wine enhances the natural flavor of the wine.

What is a supertaster?

A supertaster is an individual who is extremely sensitive to tastes, especially bitter tastes, due to the additional taste buds they have. These individuals are often unable to enjoy food and wine with bitter compounds. This is all about the tannin, and it’s a genetic attribute.

For the current scandals plaguing the CMS –including charges of racism and sexual violence– please refer to this page:  Master Sommelier Scandals 

The wine industry is enormous – and has so many different words, terms, phrases, and aspects that it’s impossible to know all of them. But hopefully, with this article, we could make you feel a little more at ease and a little more confident about your next wine conversation!

Ask a Sommelier: The 15 Most Common Wine Questions

6 thoughts on “Ask a Sommelier: The 15 Most Common Wine Questions

  • 4th September 2022 at 9:17 am

    I would like to know the value of a bottle of wine I bought in Paris 39 years ago. It has never been opened. Also, can one still drink it?

    It is Cabernet D’ Anjou. The label also says Chateau De Tigne’

  • 24th November 2021 at 6:37 pm

    Good Day! I found a bottle of 1962 TYTELL EUROPA SELECTED BEAUJOLAIS CHAPON FIN in my parent’s pantry. Is it still safe to consume? What should I expect from it?

  • 5th August 2021 at 11:52 am

    I need some specific suggestions on which red wine to mix with what champagne to make a blush for a wedding unity event. I see lots of articles on how to do it but not what to do it with! How can I find out the best reds to go with which champagnes to make a tasty result?

  • 22nd December 2019 at 2:39 pm

    I have a bottle of Travaglini Gattinara, Vendemmia 1985. Product of Italy.

    Does it have any value today?

    • 10th August 2021 at 7:31 am

      That should be drunk in the next year. Not valuable, but delicious.


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