How to Elevate Your Wine-Drinking Experience
On National Drink Wine Day and beyond.
It's no secret we're big fans of wine. But when you drink wine on the regular, sometimes you just get stuck in a rut. It's so easy to pick up the same safe bottle you already know you like and pour it into whatever cup is nearby. Enjoying wine, however, can be an elevated affair — even without putting in much work.
So let's forget about the mundane, go-to ways we usually imbibe, and focus on treating our vino the way it deserves to be treated. How can you go about elevating your wine-drinking experience? Well, I have a few ideas, but I'm in no way an expert, so I reached out to Katie Owen, the wine director at Winc, as well. Read on for our best tips and tricks and get ready to enjoy your next glass of wine in style.
1: When in doubt, reach for bubbly.
"I think a lot of people would agree that bubbly, even at an entry-level price point, can feel luxurious simply because of the association it has with celebration and romance. Whether you’re splurging on a bottle or sticking to an entry-level option from your local wine shop, the experience can be equally as satisfying and exciting. For example, I think of Winc’s 2016 Finke’s Widow Sparkling Wine ($13). This wine has such a sleek look with its label and packaging, and the palate has some really pretty, floral notes, making it the perfect fit for any occasion." — Katie Owen
2: But don't limit yourself to just one varietal.
"If I want to create a truly memorable wine experience, my evening will start with bubbles, move to white wine or a light rosé, then finish with red wine. Ideally in this scenario, you'll have a different, appropriate glass for each wine." — Katie Owen
3: Keep your glass collection well stocked.
"Any wineglass collection needs three types of glasses. First is a white wineglass, which can be stemmed or stemless, depending on your preference. Don’t forget that your white wineglass can be used for serving Champagne and sparkling wine, too. Secondly, you’ll need a Burgundy glass and lastly, a Bordeaux glass. The Burgundy glass is best used for chardonnay and pinot noir — the classic varieties of Burgundy, France — though, I often like to use this curvier glass for some syrah and other rhone-varietal wines. The Bordeaux glass (above) is a taller, more slender style and is best suited for the classic Bordeaux varieties, including cabernet sauvignon and merlot." — Katie Owen
4: Try out new wine regions.
While everyone has their go-to wine regions (think: Tuscany, Bordeaux, Burgundy and Napa Valley, just to name a few), there are so many unexpected locations producing exceptional wines. Resist the urge to only sip from spots you know, and test out a bottle from a new country or city. For example, Nobilo, a New Zealand winery, has a sauvignon blanc that is decidedly drinkable, and a pinot noir that pairs perfectly with food.
5: Don't discount unexpected wine vessels.
Of course, bottled wine will always be a popular option, but you can also find must-try vino in some not-so-mainstream vessels. There are the canned wines that popped up at every pool party and beach bash last summer, and those oft-looked-over boxes. Don't worry though, we're not talking about the boxed wine you "enjoyed" in college; there are some top-notch options that come in cute little cubes, too. For example, Black Box Wines have won 27 Wine Enthusiast Best Buys and 50 Gold Medals, and they have a limited-edition rosé launching this March. Yep, that means in just a few short weeks you can buy three liters of rosé for just $25. Color us impressed!
6: And have fun with food pairings.
"It’s always invigorating when I can experience a food and wine pairing that isn’t one of the most commonly known pairings (like the classic steak and cabernet pairing, or lobster with buttery Chardonnay). For example, Champagne with pizza! Or, fried chicken with a pétillant naturel-style wine. These combinations please the palate in such an interesting and unique way — and for me, are the culinary experiences that will stick in my mind forever!" — Katie Owen