Water and Wine: Why You Shouldn’t Mix Them

We’ve heard of people mixing all sorts of things with their wines. There are even plenty of wine-based cocktails that we would recommend. Some of them use Italian wines, like Prosecco, to create truly incredible flavours. Sure, some of the purists will tell you that you should never mix anything with your wine. But the occasional experimentation with other alcohols can help you unlock something new in a bottle of wine.

That all makes sense.

But what about mixing your wine with water?

Some of you just read that and feel sick. Why would anyone want to mix water and wine?

We will look at why some people do this and why you should avoid it. But first, let’s look at what we don’t mean when discussing mixing water with wine.

When is Water and Wine Okay?

When we talk about not mixing water and wine, we don’t mean that you shouldn’t drink water and wine in the space of the same meal.

In fact, a glass of water can help you to cleanse your palate in between sips. There’s nothing wrong with keeping a glass of water on the side to take the occasional sip out of.

What we mean when we say don’t mix water and wine is exactly that!

Don’t mix them.

Do not pour a little water into your wine at any point. We’d even go so far as to say that you shouldn’t put ice in your wine either.

And it’s also a good idea to fully swallow a sip of wine before you take a sip of water too.

Now you probably have one question in your mind.

Why would someone mix water and Italian wine in the first place?

There is a logic to this madness.

Why Do People Do It?

There are two reasons why people may mix water and wine.

Some are attempting to be pragmatic. We all know that alcohol can have a dehydrating effect on the body. It’s the leading cause of the hangover that you may experience after a night of drinking wine.

Some people put a little water into their wine because they think that mixing the two will somehow help them to avoid the hangover that comes after.

The idea is nice, but it doesn’t really work that way.

Sipping from a glass or bottle of water in between drinks is much more effective in avoiding the dreaded hangover. You don’t have to ruin a perfectly good bottle of Italian wine by adding water to it.

Then there are the people who are looking to ruin their wine.

Ok, so that’s a little harsh. What we mean by that is that some people mix water and wine because the wine that they’re trying to drink is a little too powerful for their tastes. As a result, they’ll try to dilute the wine before drinking it.

Again, there’s a logic to this line of thinking. But it’s something that we recommend that you avoid too. In fact, here are a few reasons why you should never mix water with Italian wine.

Reason #1 – It Changes the Wine’s Structure

Winemakers spend years of their lives perfecting their techniques to make outstanding wines.

When you pour water into a glass of wine, you’re undoing all of that hard work.

The water actively changes the chemical composition of the wine. It’s like the oxygenation process, only it works much faster.

The simple fact is that you’re destroying something that someone else worked very hard to achieve.

Water and Wine
A fine food and wine pairing

Reason #2 – It Lowers the Wine’s Quality

We’re going to go out on a limb and say that nobody who’s ever consumed wine with water in it has said that it actually improves the quality of the wine.

At best, it can make a complex wine a little easier to drink. But that has nothing to do with improving quality.

People often add water to wine so that they can experience wines that they’d otherwise struggle with. The irony is that the very act of adding water means that they’re not experiencing the wine in the way it was intended.

Here’s a better idea.

Instead of trying to run before you can walk, try to train your palate. If you find that a wine is too complex for you to drink, try a few less complex wines. This can help you adjust your palette so you’re ready to take on the real thing later rather than drink a watered-down version.

Reason #3 – Water Doesn’t Actually Mix With Wine

We’ll turn things over to the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory scientists to explain this.

Many people mix water with wine to pace themselves and avoid the dreaded hangover. But that probably won’t work.

Scientists have examined what happens when you mix water and alcohol. And they found that, even at their most purest levels, water and alcohol simply don’t fully mix. Instead, you get this odd concoction of liquids that are still trying to act like they do when they’re unmixed.

It doesn’t make for a nice-tasting experience. And you won’t achieve the pre-emptive hangover cure you sought.

The Final Word

There’s nothing wrong with drinking water alongside your glass of wine.

But mixing them means that you’re diluting the wine’s quality. You’re no longer drinking the wine as the maker intended you to. Instead, you’ve created your own drink, which is almost guaranteed to not offer the same level of quality as the wine on its own would.

Think about it like this. When you have a good bottle of Italian wine, you go to great lengths to protect it. You store it out of the sun, keep it at the right temperature, and avoid exposing it to too much air.

Why ruin all of that good work by adding water when you finally crack open the bottle?

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