20 common wine mistakes you're probably making

Group of women drinking wine wrong
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Have you been drinking wine wrong? Even the women in the picture are making the most common wine drinking mistake!

We had thought we were pretty good at drinking wine. We have certainly had a lot of practice! But we were shocked to discover that we are guilty of making loads of basic mistakes. Virgin wines surveyed 2,000 randomly selected Brits and compiled a list of the 20 most common mistakes made when drinking wine.

So when you're next sipping smugly on your latest best cheap wine deal or bargain Aldi wine offering, consider fixing a few of these wine no-nos...

Common wine mistakes

  1. Holding a wine glass by the bulb, and not the stem
  2. Drinking wine from something that isn’t a wine glass
  3. Serving red wine directly from the bottle and not allowing it to ‘breathe’ first
  4. Damaging the wine cork and pushing the cork down the bottle
  5. Mispronouncing a type / name of wine
  6. Pouring red wine into a white wine glass or white wine into a red wine glass
  7. Serving white wine with a red meat
  8. Filling a wine glass to the very top
  9. Keeping a bottle of wine open for too long
  10. Putting ice cubes in wine
  11. Serving the entire bottle of a good quality red
  12. Adding lemonade or coke to red or white wine to water it down
  13. Serving white wine at room temperature
  14. Storing corked wine vertically
  15. Drinking wine from a bottle rather than a glass
  16. Corking a bottle of red wine and drinking it anyway
  17. Trying to use a corkscrew on a screwcap
  18. Serving a ‘heavy’ red wine with fish
  19. Heating red wine on a radiator
  20. Pretending to know what a wine’s ‘bouquet’ was even though you had no idea

The most common mistake made by those polled was holding a wine glass by the bulb, and not the stem. Holding a wine glass by the bulb will warm the wine. So it's much better to hold a wine glass correctly, by the stem. If you are drinking a wine that should be served cold, such as white wine, this is particularly important.

Number two on the list is drinking wine from something that isn’t a wine glass. Andrew Baker is a Master of Wine and the in-house wine expert at Virgin wines. He explains that “A lot of people in the poll admitted to drinking from incorrect glassware." The most appropriate glass to drink wine from is a wine glass. Andrew explains that "Stemware is of course the best glassware for drinking wine as they have been designed for the job – these types of glasses help maintain the temperate and aeration of wine.”

drinking red wine


Another classic mistake is serving wine directly from the bottle and not allowing it to breath first. Allowing wine to 'breath' is basically leaving the wine exposed to the air before drinking it. Leaving the wine to come into contact with oxygen will have an effect on the flavour. This process is called aerating wine. It will have a more profound effect on red wines. And is why red wine is often poured into decanters prior to drinking.

If this is something you don't already do we recommend you try it next time you crack open a bottle. It even works on cheap wines from the supermarket. You will be impressed with the evolution in flavour. Pour the wine you intend to drink from the bottle into a decanter or failing that a jug will work. Allow the wine to sit for 10 mins exposed before filling your glass. Try this alongside the wine straight from the bottle and see if you can taste the difference.

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Rose Fooks
Deputy Food Editor

Rose Fooks is Deputy Food Editor at Future Publishing, creating recipes, reviewing products and writing food features for a range of lifestyle and home titles including GoodTo and Woman&Home. Before joining the team, Rose obtained a Diplome de Patisserie and Culinary Management at London’s Le Cordon Bleu. Going on to work in professional kitchens at The Delaunay and Zedel.