Ah, the holidays. Never is there a time of year with more to toast to: family, friends, gifts, never-ending holiday treats and the promise of a fresh start with the coming of a new year.
As you gear up to celebrate Christmas tomorrow and the New Year in just another week, we’ve compiled a mini guide on “toasting etiquette.” Read on to learn how to properly cheer in the holidays:
Use Proper Stemware
While we think (and we’re betting most people will agree) that sparkling wine is tasty whether served in a glass, mug or jar, the proper way to serve it is in a slender, flute-shaped glass. Schott Zwiesel Pure Champagne Flutes will do the job; for a less traditional look, the flared Zwiesel 1872 Enoteca Champagne Toasting Glass is a fun choice. Both are available at Sur La Table.
White wine should be served in a U-shaped wine glass like the Riedel Vinum Chardonnay Glass. An alternative is the DuraClear Osteria Stemless White Wineglass, which is great for butterfingers – it won’t crack, shatter, break, cloud or discolor. Both are available at Williams-Sonoma.
Red wine has more complex aromas and flavors than white wine, so it should be served in a glass with a larger surface area so that the wine can come into contact with more air. If you’re toasting with red wine, serve it in a round wine glass that has a large opening – try Anthropologie’s Frosted Panes Red Wine Glass or Frosted Panes Tumbler, both of which feature beautiful etched patterns.
Serve Wine at the Correct Temperature
Most people know better than to put ice in their white wine (at least in public), but how much do you actually know about the temperatures at which different types of wine should be served?
Sparkling wine should be served well chilled. Put a bottle in the fridge 3 hours prior to serving, or a minimum of 30 minutes in ice water, if you’re running short on time.
White wines should also be served chilled, but not to the degree of sparkling wines. As a rule of thumb, refreshing white wines like Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio should be chilled to 35 or 40 degrees before serving, while richer white wines like Chardonnay should be chilled slightly less, to about 55 degrees, before serving.
Lastly, red wines should be served at a cool 65 degrees. If you keep your reds in a cool, dry environment like a cellar or basement, you may be able to serve them immediately. If not, you can chill them in the fridge for about 20 minutes before serving.
Don’t Overfill Glasses
…at least not during the first round. This will help prevent spillage as everyone clinks glasses and, as a bonus, you’ll look like a true wine expert. Joanna Goddard, who blogs over at A Cup of Jo, wrote a great wine etiquette post (complete with illustrations!) to help clarify the do’s and don’ts of drinking wine. She writes that red wine glasses should be filled 1/3 full, white wine glasses ½ full, and sparkling wine glasses ¾ full.
Now that we’ve filled your mind with wine knowledge, we’re going to give you one last piece of contradictory advice – if all else fails, throw all etiquette out the window and just enjoy toasting with your loved ones this holiday. We promise we won’t judge.
The Shopilly Team
Photo credits: surlatable.com, williams-sonoma.com, anthropologie.com