Why do you swirl wine? Is it because you saw someone else do it? Is it because you think it looks like a charming and cultured move?
For whatever reason it is, know that you are already on the right track. However, today, let us end the wondering. Let us answer why you should swirl your wine, what to know about it, and how you should do it. We have plenty to talk about today, so let us get right into it!
Why Do You Swirl Wine?
There are three main reasons to swirl your wine. That is because there are three steps to enjoying a glass of wine, and swirling can help with each step. What many fail to notice is that swirling a glass of wine does not only help with a single thing or step. In the following sections, we will show you how it can be beneficial from start to finish.
Swirling Wine Can Help With the Wine’s Visuals
Even without all the benefits of swirling, many of us would still probably do it for the visuals. Wine swirling in itself can already be rewarding. It looks like a fancy move, a refined flick. However, while it is visually pleasing, there is more to it. Performing it does have benefits. Lots of it, actually!
First, swirling can help reveal the color and shade of a wine.
It is easy to distinguish the five main types of wine. One will likely have no difficulty differentiating red from white wine or rosé from sparkling wine. However, it is not as easy to compare the different wines in each category. Swirling can help reveal how dark a dark wine is or how light a light wine is.
Additionally, swirling can help with determining the texture of a wine.
When you swirl a glass of wine, you will likely get a smooth and clean one or a dragging and messy roll.
While we are on the talk of texture, swirling can also help change the consistency of some wine. Some might suggest avoiding wine swirling when it comes to sparkling wines as it could flatten them. However, swirling is something you might want to consider for this type of wine if you are not a big fan of the fizz or too much of it, at least.
Aside from the visuals, swirling a glass of wine will hint at what to expect. For one, the color of the wine can tell how heavy it is. The darker a wine, the higher the chance it will be full-bodied, for example. On the other hand, texture can hint at the wine’s contents. The more marks there are, the higher the sugar or alcohol contents are likely to be.
Swirling Wine Can Help With the Wine’s Aroma
Our sense of smell plays a large part in enjoying wine in more ways than one.
As you might already know, in describing wines, we do not only talk about the flavor. We also discuss its characteristics and its notes. In other words, we also talk about aromas and scents. It is in this area that wine swirling helps a lot.
Swirling wine can help reveal aromas one might never notice otherwise. To add, as it can enhance the pleasant fragrances, it can also tone down the unpleasant odors.
On the other hand, it can air the depth of a wine. In other words, show its complexity, if you will. Swirling helps us smell the wine. However, that is not all there is to it. By helping us smell the wine better, it also allows us to taste the wine better.
If we do not smell the wine better, we will also be depriving our sense of taste. When we taste anything, there are only five things we can detect (i.e., sweet, salty, sour, bitter, and savory). All other things you taste, you can taste with the help of your sense of smell.
Also, if you do not believe how essential one’s sense of scent is in tasting, try drinking wine or eating anything without using your sense of smell and see how much of a difference it makes. We ordinarily do not stop using our sense of smell when eating. With that, it is easy for its necessity to go unnoticed.
Swirling Wine Can Help With the Wine’s Flavor
Finally, swirling a glass of wine can also help with enhancing its flavors. We already discussed a way swirling does that. However, it does not end there.
Swirling a glass of wine is a little like decanting. It helps let the wine breathe. It aids the wine in interacting with oxygen, a process that might not be ideal for some drinks but one you want your wine to undertake. This interaction smoothens the tannins, lessening the bitterness and making the flavors stand out better.
There are several ways to let the wine breathe. Of course, you can use a decanter. On the other hand, it might be surprising, but you can even use a blender. These methods take time and practice, though. Additionally, they are not without risks.
As you can imagine, wine swirling is undoubtedly more convenient and less risky. With that said, it is not without risks. We will talk more about this later. However, before that, let us briefly discuss the other areas where wine swirling could help.
Other Reasons to Swirl Wine
The ones discussed above are the main reasons wine drinkers and lovers swirl their wine. However, there are other areas this simple act could help.
First, swirling a glass of wine could help reveal unwanted substances. As wine ages, sediments form. Additionally, parts of the cork could also mix with the wine. If there is no decanter, swirling could reveal these substances. In turn, it can help you avoid them.
While you will likely spot cork pieces without using a decanter or swirling, sediments are a different story. They could be hard to avoid until it is too late. While sediments are not harmful, they surely can ruin the experience in more ways than one.
On the other hand, it can be a way to show appreciation.
If you are at a tasting or someone is asking you to try a particular wine, swirling can be a way to show you are valuing the wine and appreciating them and the experience. Swirling is only part of the process, though. To truly show your appreciation at times like these, there are some steps you might want to keep in mind. (We will get back to this topic in the next section.)
Finally, well, it’s fun! As we have said earlier, even without all the benefits, many would still likely swirl their wine. It is a fun gesture. It can keep one occupied when one is not sipping some wine or help you slow down with your drink.
Is There a Right Way to Swirl Wine?
We now know the many reasons to swirl a glass of wine. Next, let us discuss how to swirl. There isn’t a right or wrong way to swirl a glass of wine per se. However, while it may look easy to do, it is not. If you have already tried it, you might have already dealt with spilled wine.
To safely swirl your wine, keep your wine glass planted on a flat surface. After that, hold the stem of the glass with your thumb and index finger or pointer and middle finger. Finally, slowly and gently move the glass around in circles while gradually picking up speed.
While there is no official right or wrong way to swirl your wine, there are some things you might want to keep in mind when with other wine lovers or oenophiles.
First, keep in mind that wine swirling is not a competition. It is not about who can do it in the fastest or flashiest way. You don’t have to be subtle, but trying to be too showy might annoy your fellow wine drinkers.
Additionally, do not just swirl your wine. Keep in mind that this action is to make the qualities of the wine stand out. With that, it would be ideal to observe the wine before and after you swirl it. This way, you will see, smell, and taste the difference.
Finally, while swirling a glass of wine can do good, doing it too much can do bad. You do not have to worry much, though. As long as you do not leave your glass of wine out for a long time, you should be safe from overdoing it.
Why do you swirl wine? Well, we answered that today!
First, we answered this question and learned that wine should be swirled as it helps in the three stages of enjoying the drink. After that, we discussed the right way of swirling wine, where we talked about the dos and don’ts in performing this move.
We hope we got to be of help today with your wine worry. If you have more, well, you know where to find us!
George Moore, co-founder of Wine Flavor Guru, is a charismatic entrepreneur with a rich background in California’s wine industry. Alongside Sylvia, he transformed a Sonoma County vineyard into a source of premium wines. George’s expertise in sourcing exceptional grapes and his approachable style make wine appreciation both accessible and engaging.