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Wine in Moderation: Serving and Drinking Responsibly

winter red wine vineyard

For this article, we talked to Wine in Moderation (WIM) about what it means to practice responsible service and responsible consumption.

It’s WIM’s mission to “be the social responsibility program of the wine sector, providing wine professionals with the information and tools they need to responsibly present wine, and inspiring consumers to fully enjoy wine and its culture in a healthy, positive, and convivial way.” Now, that’s a mission we can get behind.

Before we dive into tips for the wine consumer, let’s take a look at the wine sector.

4 Responsible Service Tips for the Wine Professional

According to WIM, it’s important that servers and winery tasting hosts understand what it means to practice responsible service because, in doing so, they guarantee not only the best tasting experience for the customer but also their customer’s safety.

There are a number of ways to do this:

  1. Always serve the right amount: A measured pour is important especially if your guests are tasting through a number of wines in one sitting. The standard tasting pour is about half of a regular glass, i.e. 2-3 ounces. If customers are tasting through quite a few bottles, servers might consider 1-ounce pours.

  2. Provide spittoons: While it might feel slightly wasteful, providing spittoons for customers is a great way to ensure that everyone is able to taste wine in a responsible manner. If someone is new to wine tasting, wine tasting hosts should coach them through how to do this.

  3. Provide water and snacks: Water not only cleanses the palate between sips, but also helps keep everyone hydrated. Snacks are great for creating pairings and for balancing alcohol consumption. Choose options that really compliment the wines and showcase any restaurant or food service your establishment offers.

  4. Take note of who is driving: Of course, it is the customer’s responsibility to drink responsibly – especially if they are driving. Either way, knowing that your establishment might not be their only stop, take note of who might be driving so that you can pour responsibly.

Responsible Consumption for the Consumer

As consumers of wine, it’s sometimes hard to see beyond what’s in our glass but, truth is, a lot happened before that pour. Perfecting one bottle of wine takes years, sometimes decades. A lot of hands touch that bottle before your lips touch the glass. From the growers to the blending team, from the off-season pruning to the bottling. Then there is the whole process beyond the winemaking – the marketing, the sales, the distribution.

It’s the job of the wine drinker to honor that process until the last sip – to truly taste the grapes and labor of love behind the bottle. Here are additional tips for enjoying wine responsibly:

  • Look beyond the label: Learn to love the story behind your favorite wine. Learn about the winery, the winemaker, and the year it was bottled. This will help add value to what’s in your glass and inspire you to savor it a bit more.

  • Learn how to use a spittoon and ask for one if it’s not provided: Even when tasting wines at home using your Coravin wine preservation system, learn how to use a spittoon. Our friend Raquel over at @watchmesip shared, “You don’t have to finish every wine that’s put in front of you. If you don’t like it, or are trying to pace yourself, spit or dump it. No hard feelings are taken by the winery or host.” Head over to Wine Spectator to learn “how to spit at a wine tasting so I don’t look like a distressed camel.”

  • Bring [backup] water and snacks: Raquel also shared, “Hydrate and eat food throughout the day to avoid being that sloppy person at the wine tasting.” If it’s possible snacks and water might not be provided, bring backups.

Share these tips with wine lovers in your life. Stay tuned for more tips from the Coravin value and on social. @coravin.