Why Do People Swirl Wine? 5 Things You Should Know


Have you been to Italian or Spanish restaurants and noticed people swirling their wine glasses? Although a lot of movies feature this technique, there’s no explanation of why they’re doing this. At first, it looks like a classy thing to do, but it’s a lot more than that.

Whether it’s your first time in a wine tasting or dining in an expensive restaurant, you must be confused about the wine swirling.

The truth is, swirling wine is not just about looking fancy. There’s a lot more behind this technique that makes wine lovers appreciate their drink more. However, you may notice that not all wine drinkers do it. But don’t worry, it’s not just for the pros, and even you can do it, too.

But before you start swirling your wine glass, here are five things you should know about this fancy wine technique!

1. It reveals a better appearance

Surprised? Yes, actually, swirling wine has something to do with the final appearance of the wine. Winemakers control the colour of the wine they make, as it usually indicates the style of the wine. But since they’re stored for quite some time, the colour may be different so you need to swirl it a bit to reveal the real colour.

For instance, dark red wine is bolder and richer. On the other hand, rosé is expected to be on the fruity side. And if you want to see the final form of their colour, swirling wine is the recommended way to observe them more accurately.

2. It eliminates unwanted compounds

When you swirl the wine in a wine glass, the wine is exposed to oxygen which results in the evaporation of unwanted compounds. These unwanted compounds (sulfide) usually have a foul smell.

Fortunately, the smell evaporates as they react to oxygen. Sulfide is added to the wine or may naturally form during the fermentation process. But with just a few seconds of swirling, the unwanted smell will evaporate leaving the aroma intended by the winemakers.

If you want to distinguish the difference, you may smell the initial form of the wine, swirl it a bit, and small it again. By then, you’ll easily figure out why swirling is important to the aroma of the wine.


3. It exposes the viscosity

As you swirl the wine, you can easily see its texture. If it contains more sugar or tannins, it’ll spin slowly. And when you stop swirling the glass, it forms tears or legs, which indicate the thickness and alcohol content the wine contains. These tears or legs are usually seen sticking on the side or walls of the glass.

So if you haven’t tried different kinds of wine yet, you can compare their thickness when you swirl them. Although some wines immediately look less viscous than others, it’s still worth trying to see how they differ by swirling.

4. It unveils the quality

Swirling the wine also indicates whether it has gone bad or sour. If there are unexpected bubbles or colours formed, its quality may no longer be good.

Unfortunately, some experts reveal that there are old wines that shouldn’t be swirled too much. If you’re in a wine tasting, you can ask the host if dramatically swirling the wines they serve is too much. But the standard few seconds of swirling may guarantee and give justice to the winemakers.

But aside from the old wines, swirling sparkling wines is also not recommended. Given that they’re already sparkling, swirling them might cause another reaction that may eliminate their sparkles.


5. It helps you take your time

Lastly, swirling wine helps you take your time. For instance, if the Spanish restaurants near you offer wine tasting, it’s best if you can swirl your wine first before drinking.

Some wine experts recommend spitting during wine tasting. Unfortunately, it may seem rude, so instead, take your time and phase yourself. And one way of doing that without looking too obvious is by swirling your wine.

Meanwhile, it’s not just about the phasing. Taking your time while swirling the wine also helps you to appreciate their differences.

How to swirl wine?

If you want to achieve the best wine-swirling experience, it’s recommended to use a bigger wine glass. If you use a narrow one, you might not be able to swirl successfully.

Meanwhile, it’s best if you can practise first before heading to a wine tasting. 

  • First, get your best wine glass. 
  • Then, pour a few ounces of the wine into the glass. 
  • Next, smell and observe the colour of the wine. 
  • Then, slowly swirl the glass for 15 seconds, and observe the changes.
  • After that, take a sip, and smell the aroma of the wine. You can continue doing this a few times and see the difference. 
  • And lastly, enjoy!

We hope this article helps you figure out the essence of wine swirling. Also, don’t forget to share your first wine-swirling experience by leaving a comment below!


Aliana Baraquio is a web content writer who also loves cooking dishes from different countries. If you want to experience a Barcelona-style restaurant that serves high-quality food, and a modern, contemporary, fresh feel from the south of Europe, visit TAST Catala Spanish Restaurant.

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