When you go to a wine tasting, you might notice that people swirl the glass before taking a sip. If you're new to wine, you're probably wondering why it's important to do this before trying new whites, reds, and rosés. Below, you'll learn more about the benefits of swirling your wine before drinking.

Reasons to Swirl Wine

wine tasting

When you swirl wine, it leaves streaks or droplets known as "legs" on the interior of the glass. The appearance of the fluid and the rate at which the liquid drips down the sides can give you insight into its viscosity, sweetness, and alcohol content. For instance, if the liquid has thicker legs and moves slowly, it has a high viscosity, which indicates that the varietal is likely sweeter and has a higher ABV.

Swirling may also make it easier to see the color of the wine as the light hits it through the glass. The wine's hue and transparency level can give you an idea about the flavor and mouthfeel before you take a sip. For example, if the wine is dark red and opaque, it's likely full-bodied with robust flavors, whereas pale pink and light gold varietals usually have understated tasting notes. 

The swirling movement also agitates the wine and causes the alcohol to lift, releasing the fragrance into the bowl. Inserting your nose into the glass after swirling can help you assess the wine's olfactory notes, which may be floral, fruity, or earthy. These aromas can prepare your taste buds for the wine and enhance its flavors.

How to Swirl Wine Correctly

Prior to swirling at a wine tasting, place the glass on a level surface such as a table or countertop. Grasp the glass at its base, using your thumb and forefinger. Holding the base prevents your hand's heat from raising the temperature of the wine and diminishing its flavor. Leaving the glass on the even surface, carefully use your thumb and forefinger to move the base as though you were drawing circles. While doing this, use slow and gentle motions so that the fluid does not spill over the edges. After circling the wine about four or five times, you can take your first sip. As your technique improves, you may try swirling the fluid while lifting the glass. 

Enjoy aromatic and delicious varietals by attending a wine tasting at Oeno Winemaking. Based in Kailua, HI, this winery specializes in personalized winemaking using ingredients sourced from around the world. Call (808) 263-6366 to ask about upcoming events, and visit the website to learn more about their inventory of international red and white wines.