5 Common Mistakes When Drinking Wine

One of the great things about having a passion for wine is that there’s always more to learn, appreciate and experience.

Whether you’re entirely new to drinking wine, or a bonafide expert with a drool-worthy vino collection, your knowledge and enjoyment of wine will never be “complete.” There will always be a varietal you’ve yet to sample, a food-wine pairing you’re dying to try, or a growing region you hope to cross off your bucket list.

At Wine Insiders, we understand the romance and excitement of your passion for wine, but we also know how important it can be to understand the basics -- simple as they might seem.

If you’re looking to bone up on wine-drinking essentials before your next dinner party or refresh your memory before you add to your collection, read on for our Guide to Common Wine Mistakes:


1. Drinking Wine at The Wrong Temperature

This cardinal sin of wine drinking is widespread, and it can have disastrous effects on your wine experience.

Over-chilling wines can detract from their acidity, sweetness, and fruity notes, while over-heating a bottle can leave it bitter and over-oxidized.

Thankfully this mistake is easy to avoid, as long as you know the ideal wine storage and serving temperatures for your favorite bottles:

Light and fruity whites (Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc) taste best when chilled to 45–50°F, while fuller-bodied whites (Chardonnay, Moscato) thrive between 55–60°F.

Red wines, on the other hand, best suit warmer serving temperatures. Drink reds with weaker tannin profiles (Pinot Noir, Gamay) between 58–61°F, but allow those with stronger tannins (Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon) to reach 61–65°F.

Lastly, sparkling wines are the coldest of all. For your next Champagne celebration, chill your bottle to 38–45°F, and the next time you enjoy a Prosecco or Cava, shoot for 40-50°F.

Wine Insiders Tip: How you hold a wine glass can also have a dramatic, warming effect on your wine’s temperature. Always hold stemmed glasses by their stem, between your thumb and forefinger, and grasp stemless glasses by their base to avoid heating your wine.

2. Pouring Too Much Wine in Your Glass

When we enjoy a bottle of wine, particularly after a long week, it can be easier than we’d like to admit to pouring as much as we can into our glass.

However, as a budding wine expert, you want to avoid this at all costs.

Though you might loathe when restaurants use the smaller “standard pour” to extend the lifespan of their bottle and extract as much money from it as possible, you want to use the standard 5 oz pour for different reasons:

Regardless of whether you’re enjoying your wine in an 8, 12, or even 20 oz glass, the 5 oz pour will allow you to fully explore and enjoy the taste and aroma of your wine without under or overwhelming your palate or nose.

So, how can you reliably hit the 5 oz mark? Well, there are a few options:

  • You can invest in a wine pourer masterfully designed to pour your desired amount of wine at the proper speed.
  • You can purchase wine glasses with subtle measuring lines cleverly etched on them to help guide your pour.
  • You can use some insiders’ knowledge and stop pouring when you reach the widest part of the glass -- which typically corresponds to a standard, 5 oz pour.

3. Not Experimenting With New Varietals

This mistake might be the most pervasive among all kinds of wine drinkers. From the newbie to the expert, it can be so simple to fall back on what we know and avoid expanding our vino imagination's boundaries.

While there’s nothing wrong with consistently enjoying your favorite varietals, experimenting with wine is a joyous, exciting opportunity that everyone deserves to experience.

Our advice is to find an ideal balance between the wines you know you love and the ones you want to try. This method will open you up to new worlds of wine without sacrificing the enjoyment of your already-cherished varietals.

If you’re unsure which wines you want to try, a great way to decide is merely following your interests.

While you develop and refine your taste, make a list of the varietals, meals, and regions that pique your interest, and slowly begin to work your way through it.

As we said before, there is no “finish line” in your enjoyment and collection of wine. Follow your passion and palate, and the rest will take care of itself!

4. Assuming Wine Must Be Expensive to Taste Good

This error in judgment affects wine drinkers of all ages and experience levels, and it’s one we especially hate to see.

Like many products on the market, clever advertising and false promises often mislead people into assuming that the price of a bottle of wine always correlates to its quality. Unfortunately, this often could not be further from the truth.

While, of course, there are plenty of delicious, highly-touted bottles that cost hundreds to thousands of dollars, there is also a multitude of spectacular wines in the $15-30 price range.

In fact, we at Wine Insiders pride ourselves on our extensive, diverse selection of highly affordable wines. The entirety of our bottle selection ranges from $10-30, and we take particular pride in our selection of 90+ Top-Rated Wines under $20.

Whether you’re looking to reconnect with an old favorite or discover your new vino obsession, our bottles are sure to put a smile on your face without breaking the bank.

5. Not Investing in Wine Cases

The final major wine-drinking mistake we often see is a hesitance to purchase wine in bulk.

Though ordering a half-size, 6-Bottle Wine Set or a standard, 12-Bottle Case of Wine can be intimidating, buying wine in bulk is a great way to sample a more extensive selection of varietals/blends and save money per bottle.

Whether you create a case of your choosing, which can be a great way to combine your current favorites with new wines you want to try or opt for a pre-selected or “themed” set, there’s no wrong choice.

In fact, some might say a case of wine is the best way to expand your palate and follow your wine passions, as it allows you to dip your toe in the waters of a specific grape, region, or vineyard.

To top it all off, ordering a 6 or 12-bottle set of wine is a great way to save money, as most winemakers introduce a 10-20% discount per bottle when you purchase a set.

Wine Insiders: Your New Home For Wine

Now that you know some basic tips and tricks for getting the most out of your wine check out the Wine Insiders selection to discover our fantastic range of wines, regions, bottle-sets and specials!

Carefully chosen to satisfy all kinds of wine lovers, our selection is sure to please any drinker who appreciates a great bottle of wine. Whether you’re pining for a silky red, refreshing white or celebratory flute of sparkling wine, we have you covered for every meal, occasion and celebration.