Do you swirl a glass of sparkling wine?

Ask Dr Vinny

Hello there! I'm Dr. Vinifera, but you can call me Vinny. Ask me your toughest wine questions, from the fine points of etiquette to the science of winemaking. And don't worry, I'm no wine snob—you can also ask me those "dumb questions" you're too embarrased to ask your wine geek friends! I hope you find my answers educational, empowering and even amusing. And don't forget to check out my most asked questions and my full archives for all my Q&A classics.

Dear Dr. Vinny,

Should a glass of sparkling wine be swirled before tasting?

—Bee, London

Dear Bee,

No need! The carbonation does the swirling for you: The aromas and flavors in the wine are enhanced by the escaping bubble. If you swirl excessively, you run the risk of causing the wine go to go prematurely flat—like a bottle of soda that has been excessively shaken.

A little swirling won’t hurt (which is good because like a lot of wine lovers, I often find myself reflexively swirling any glass in my hand). To further maximize a bubbly’s aromatics, you can use a more standard glass designed for still wines, or a tulip-shaped glass, both of which yield more surface area than the standard flute, and more room for the aromas to concentrate in the glass. I’m still a sucker for flutes, though, because they feel festive and I'm less tempted to swirl (and slosh) them.

—Dr. Vinny

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