Opening a Bottle of Wine – The Crucial Mistakes to Avoid

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Any newcomers to the world of may find themselves a little wary of all of the “rules” that they come across. There’s so much advice about what you should and shouldn’t do with your wines that it can all get a little bit intimidating. It can almost feel like opening the bottle of wine in the first place is a step too far. You should just keep it pristine and set aside forever and ever.

Of course, that’s taking things a step too far. There’s no real “right” way to drink a bottle of wine. As long as you enjoy the experience, then it’s all gone okay as far as we’re concerned.

Having said that, there are still a few things that you can do to make your wine drinking experience as good as possible. Proper storage and pouring can have a remarkable effect on a bottle of wine, as any sommelier will tell you.

But did you know that the way that you open the bottle can have a massive effect on the wine as well?

Many people don’t, which is why we’ve created this article.

Now, this article is just meant to provide some friendly advice. Avoid these mistakes if you want to get the most out of your wine, but none are so severe that they’ll completely destroy the experience for you.

Mistake #1 – Letting Cork Into the Wine

Cork is a great material for use as a stopper because of its natural qualities and the fact that it’s fully recyclable. It’s also breathable, which means that it allows some air into the bottle over time. This can both help and hinder the ageing process, depending on the specific wine and its current age.

But there’s a more specific way that cork can damage the quality of a wine. And it all comes because of how vigorously you yank it out of the bottle.

When you’re unscrewing a cork from the bottle, you need to apply a slightly more delicate touch than you might expect. Digging the screw in too hard could see it going straight through the cork, which means a lot of little pieces end up in the wine. Pushing down too hard could also lead to the cork dropping into the wine.

In both cases, the cork ends up damaging the complexion of the wine. You’ll also have to take a more delicate approach if the wine is older, as the cork degrades over time and may crumble under too much pressure.

So, the first major mistake that many make with wine is using too much power and pressure when uncorking it. Constant and gentle pressure are the keys to ensuring that cork doesn’t end up in your wine.

Mistake #2 – Leaving it Open

When you open a bottle of wine, air immediately gets inside it and starts to change the complexion of the wine. This oxidation can be a vital part of the process, but letting it happen too much can actually cause some serious issues with the wine.

Simply put, you may not make a mistake with opening your bottle of wine. But it’s certainly a mistake to leave the wine bottle open for an extended period of time.

This isn’t too much of an issue if you have a screwcap on the bottle. You can just pop the cap on and you’re good to go. You could even use a vacuum pump to get rid of excess air if you’re really concerned about the wine’s quality.

It’s a little more difficult when it’s a corked bottle. You may be able to reinsert the cork, with a little finesse. But it’s not a perfect solution.

But it’s key to reseal the bottle if you’re not going to drink it in one day. The wine loses its quality over time if left unsealed.

Mistake #3 – Popping the Cork

We’ve all seen people pop the cork on bottles of sparkling Italian wine or Champagne. It’s certainly an eye-catching moment, especially as it usually leads to a spray of the wine gushing forth from the bottle.

But it’s also a mistake to pop the cork for more reasons than you might expect.

The most obvious is the safety aspect. The cork shoots out of the bottle at some speed, and you have no control over where it goes. It’s actually possible to cause some serious injury when you pop the cork.

Moreover, the process of popping the cork also causes some issues with your wine. After all, you have to shake the wine to build up the pressure needed to pop the cork in the first place. That shaking damages the wine and causes it to lose its fizz. You get the pop and gush, but you also get a poor wine drinking experience too.

Mistake #4 – Twisting the Bottle Instead of the Cork

This is a common mistake to make and many experienced wine drinkers do it too.

Whether you’re unscrewing a cap or a cork, you may be twisting the bottle instead of twisting the cap.

This isn’t a major issue by any means. But it does stir up the contents of the bottle, which can change the complexion of the wine.

Twisting the bottle can also cause some issues when opening Champagne. While not as bad as shaking, the twisting motion can still stir up a foam that comes gushing out of the bottle.

The Final Word

Opening a bottle of wine isn’t exactly a science. But it’s surprising to many just how much some of these mistakes can affect the quality of the wine that you end up drinking.

If you want to get the absolute most out of your wine, we recommend that you do everything that you can to avoid these mistakes. In fact, if you combine the information in this article with some of our tips from past articles, you’ll drastically improve your wine experience.

Perhaps you’ve seen a mistake here that you commit yourself. Let us know in the comments section below.

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