What is Proper Wine Etiquette?

Fellow Wine Connoisseurs,

Most of you that have read my articles realize that I am a technical person. My studies of wines include the wines but expands out to the processes used in wine making. I have even tried to pass on information about the chemistry of wine.

This article is about a very memorable experience at Valencia Wine Company (VWC) with my wife, Lukas and his wife BJ. What made this evening special is that all of us have a passion for wines. Simply put, we are true wine snobs. All of us are a part of the Grape of the Night group that taste and analyze wines of a specific varietal from various regions and countries. The group knows that my motto is to always try something new and to expand your wine knowledge. This visit to VWC was premised on my motto.

Jeff Prange, Wine Educator for VWC, told me about a 1995 Rioja Reserve that they had and recommended that I try it. As with most of the staff members at VWC, they know their wines and over time, learn each individual customers palate. This is a great benefit as it prevents customers from guessing and possibly making a wrong choice.

Katlin, and Wine Operations Manager Kevin Osborne, placed proper glasses for this wine varietal on the table and presented the bottle so that I could verify that the bottle and vintage was correct prior to opening it. Kevin Poured me a sample and I swirled the wine to allow it to breath and open up. Placing the glass to my nose the aroma was spectacular.

I love old world wines and with 14 years on this bottle, it was out of this world. The fruits were prevalent and the distinct aroma of earth and leather accented the aroma of black cherries. The taste of the wine presented a distinct flavor of dried black cherries. The tannins were silky but present. This wine could probably age another 10-15 years. This wine was awesome and is definitely the style of wine that I personally love. Have you ever had an enjoyable moment in your life that you would never forget? This wine was such a moment for me. I rated it 5 out of 5 stars on my grading system. This opinion was also supported by Tracy, BJ and Lucas who also complimented this wine.

Next, Lucas pulled Kevin over to the Cab section. Lucas is a big time cab drinker and collector. Lucas asked Kevin about the 2003 Dutch Henry Cab. Kevin informed him that it was a big cab with lots of tannins. Then he provided Lucas with an alternate cab that was a little softer and not so tannic. Lucas being a big cab drinker, went with the 2003 Dutch Henry. This was a new winery for me and again, the recommendation from Kevin was right on.

Prior to pouring the Dutch Henry, the VWC staff in true form placed fresh glassware for the cab wine. Finally, I opened a 2007 Chevillon Bourgogne Burgundy to finish the night. The VWC staff realizing as we did that we were stepping backwards from big bold wines to a very soft and delicate wine that we would not enjoy the final wine. Not missing a beat, they suggested and provided palate cleansers consisting of a small glass of 2006 Augusti Torello Mata Cava Reserva which is a sparkling wine from Spain along with some crackers. This refreshed our palates and allowed us to truly enjoy the finesse of the French Burgundy wine. Though it was out of sequence for a normal wine lineup, the experience and knowledge of the VWC staff made it a perfect finish.

I also need to mention that Lucas and his wife ordered a meat and cheese plate and were in awe at the selection and quality of the meats and cheeses. Jeff informed me that the they are specially ordered and shipped to them. It is quite evident when you taste them that they are not your typical salami or cheese.

Bottom line is that we all had a terrific relaxing evening. Katlin, Jeff and Kevin were always there when you needed something. The biggest compliment is that the entire staff at VWC know their wines and can recommend a wine that will tantalize your palate. Proper wine etiquette is followed at all times at VWC. This includes replacing glasses when wines are changed and always providing the proper glasses for the wine varietal being served. Wine etiquette is important to me and the VWC staff is right on. Valencia Wine Company is truly a class act as a wine establishment. I want to thank Guy, for having such a skilled staff and fine establishment to enjoy fine wines. I cannot wait until my next visit with friends like Lucas and BJ to look for more of those diamonds in the rough amongst the many wines that VWC has to offer.

Rusty Sly

(editor’s note: I put in the term “staffers” when referring to Kevin Osborne and Jeff Prange in this original post a few days ago as I failed to get their correct titles. I apologize for being a drunken, lazy, twit. Kevin Osborne is the Wine Operations Manager and Jeff Prange is the Wine Educator.)


  1. michaelthezinfan says

    Nice post, Rusty.

    This is one of the things that is so great about the world of wine.

    Wine snobs [his term] like Rusty can get their ultimate experience and winos [wineaux?] like me can enjoy good company, a decent glass, a bottle of Zin, and Rock 'n Roll!

    Michael Perlis

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *