Do you swirl and sniff the beverage before taking a sip?

When ordering a bottle of wine at a restaurant, it's customary to receive some sort of presentation as well as a first sniff, swirl, and sip to make sure it's to your liking. At home, however, you might skip wine etiquette altogether and you wouldn't be alone. According to a new survey conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Woodbridge Wines, only 17 percent of wine drinkers swirl and sniff the beverage before drinking it.

To obtain their results, researchers polled 2,000 United States respondents over the age of 21. They found that 67 percent of people believe there are right and wrong ways to drink wine, but only 22 percent think proper wine etiquette greatly enhances their drinking experience. "Just like everything in life, there are so many old-school, traditional rules in wine culture that people feel like they need to follow—swirling, sniffing, pairing," says Serena Shrivastava, brand director for Woodbridge Wines. "We encourage everyone to play by their own rules instead and leave any judgement behind."

woman pouring red wine into glass
Credit: alvarez / Getty Images

Of the ways Americans reject wine etiquette, drinking white wine at room temperature instead of chilled was the most popular, with 46 percent of respondents reporting they do this. Additionally, holding a glass by the bowl rather than the stem was another breach in proper wine practices by 44 percent of respondents, followed by adding ice to wine (43 percent), filling their glass to the top (42 percent), sniffing the cork (36 percent), tasting wine while wearing strongly scented perfume (34 percent), and drinking without looking, swirling, or sniffing (32 percent).

Some of these habits are influenced by region. According to the survey, more people from the Northeast (54 percent) prefer to add ice cubes to their wine than others. Meanwhile, South Easterners are more likely (41 percent) to drink wine without swirling or sniffing it. The survey also revealed interesting information about how Americans choose to pair wine with food. In fact, men prefer to drink it alongside mac and cheese over other dishes (41 percent), while women opt for wings (34 percent).


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