Wine Tricks (Volume 1): Make An Impression

A few little things to keep in mind when drinking wine with friends or during a celebration. Liven things up a bit, enhance the wine drinking experience and show off your wine knowledge without making you look like a slob.


Part of a Wine Glass
My favorite little party trick that is incredibly simple is how you touch glasses with others during a toast. Much like when you make a wine glass sing (rubbing a damp finger around the top of the glass’ lip, creating vibration that will resonate within the glass and “sing”) the way one glass touches another can be amplified if done correctly.

If you hold the glass from at a slight angle to the right or left (NOT forward so rims touch), and then let the glasses touch each other at the widest area of the “bowl” of the glass, the effect is like ringing a bell. for this to work, both glasses need to touch at this point, and it should be only a quick touch, so they don’t vibrate against each other.  The glasses will ring for 20 seconds or so if they are nice glass. I’ve done this at a conference and everyone turned their heads around…..then everybody wanted to try. It’s a great start to the party and can be pretty fun.

This is great if you don’t know anyone at a party or event and want to have a starting point for conversation. If there are appetizers out, pick out a glass of wine from what’s available, and try it with multiple types of food. Don’t go crazy. Just small bites of food. Pick a pairing! Whatever your favorite food pairing is with that wine.

“Have you tried this Alexander Valley Cabernet with the roasted Brussel sprouts. That’s a surprisingly delicious pairing.”

Let’s be honest. If your at a business conference or a party with people you haven’t met, it’s sometimes uncomfortable starting off tons of conversations with, “hi I’m ______, nice to meet you….so what do you do?”…it gets boring for everyone. Better to start with a universal topic like food..much better than, “god I love it here, the weather is fantastic.”…BOOOOO..boring.  Starting off with something like food and wine is a great start because you don’t get the standard answer that someone has practiced… “well I handle the _____ for Company X.” You get a better idea of who the person is because let’s be honest, we eat every day, and our lifestyles have a lot to do with how and what we eat.


This is just fun and pretty easy if you practice a bit. Not necessary at all. Just tell people you learned it from your personal wine guy. When you cut the cork, just cut the top off. Where the cork sits. Then cut 3/4 of the second edge and fold it back so that it doesn’t brake off during the uncorking. Pull the cork out and twist that circular soil around the cork so that it sits just to the side of the glasses neck. People will definitely notice it right away. “How did you…” And then they look it over. “How’d you do that?!” All the sudden you look like a sommelier or something. Simple, Easy and just impressive enough without being over the top or snobby.

Understanding the geography of Napa and Sonoma, and the other California wine growing regions will be enough to get you by in most wine conversations about wine in general. Just take a look at some appellation maps….i will have more on this to come. Even though you might not know a winery specifically brought up in conversation, ask which appellation(s) they grow their grapes in. Examples: Oakville, Russian river valley, Sonoma coast, dry creek valley. Do a bit of research on the appellations. Just enough to know what varietals are best in some appellations and why they are unique.
Doug” I love Joseph phelps Pinot.”
You “What appellation do they use for their Pinot”
Doug–  “there on the Sonoma coast”
You“I’ve heard great things about Sonoma coast wines. Especially the Pinot noir and Sauvignon blanc. What other wineries have you had Sonoma Coast wines from?”

You’ve never had a wine from the appellation brought up in conversation, but, you at least know a little bit about the appellation and what varietals are typically made there, you can continue he conversation without sounding uninformed. If you ask about other wineries, they might say a winery that you are more familiar with.


AS ALWAYS : If you aren’t currently following THE VINTAGE….ya..just do that.

Keep up to date on-

  • local winemaking practices
  • winemaking trends
  • insights on the complex business of wine production
  • things to look for when buying wine

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