30 Second Tasting Tip: Why Do You Swirl Wine?

Swirling Wine Makes It Taste Better

You’ve seen it in films. You’ve seen it while out drinking. Everyone’s swirling wine. Why?

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Do this:

  • Take your glass of wine (don’t swirl yet!) and stick your nose in it. Give it a good sniff. Really shove your nose into the glass and inhale. What do you smell?
  • Now, hold your wine glass by the base of the stem, and give it a good swirl while it’s still sitting on the table (helps stabilize so the wine doesn’t go flying everywhere).
  • Lift the glass up to your nose. Now, what do you smell?

Why Does Swirling Wine Make It Smell Better?

Swirling the wine agitates the molecules and helps the ethanol (alcohol) evaporate – volatilize is the fancy word for it. The ethanol carries the aroma molecules up to your nose and you get a bouquet of aromas – pear! golden apple! violet! strawberry! licorice! mocha!

Why Does Swirling Wine matter?

swirling wine - red wine glass

If you find that you’re not really smelling anything in your wine, give it a good swirl. Try to help the wine open up.

If swirling the wine doesn’t help, a couple of things may be going on:

  1. The wine just isn’t that aromatic. Maybe it’s too old. Maybe it’s too young (just bottled). Maybe it’s been sitting open for a few days and went off. Lots of possible reasons here.
  2. You could be getting a cold (I hope not).

Thirsty for More?

Check out how to taste wine tannins.

Here’s how to tell if you’re serving wine too cold.

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