The opening and presentation of a bottle of wine correctly is a simple way to elevate your table service and is one of the many things you will need to master if you are looking to pursue a career as a sommelier.
Here are steps to properly open a bottle of red or white wine:
- Present the wine to the guest and confirm the producer name, vintage, grape, or cuvée name.
- Use the knife on your wine key to cut the foil around the lower lip on the neck of the bottle, remove the foil, and place it in your pocket.
- Wipe the top of the bottle to ensure the top of the bottle is clean before removing the cork.
- Insert the tip of the corkscrew into the middle of the cap, twist until a single spiral loop remains.Place the first notch of the metal lever on the lip and gently lift the end of the corkscrew. Then use the second notch at the end of the lever to ease the cork out of the bottle.
Pro-tip: Be careful not to go too far through the cork with the screw.
- Remove the cork from the wine key's screw and present the cork to the guest on the cork tray.
- Pour yourself a small amount of wine to check the smell and taste of the wine. This will give you the opportunity to tell if the wine is corked before you serve the wine to your guests.
- Pour a taste of the wine for the host with the label facing him/her and allow him/her to smell and taste the wine. Wait for his/her approval before continuing to pour.
- Once approved, move clockwise around the table pouring for guests of honor first (e.g., birthday person, etc.), otherwise pour for the ladies first, gentlemen second, and the host last. Ensure the label faces the guest each time the wine is poured.
Pro-tip: Make sure when you are pouring the wine that the bottle makes it completely around the table.
- After finishing the pours, offer to remove the cork from the table. For sparkling and white wines, ask if the guest would prefer to keep the wine on ice or at the table and respond appropriately.
- Periodically check in to top up and make sure the guests are enjoying the bottle.