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The festive season is here and for many of us this year is about entertaining at home, in small groups. If you are hosting a celebratory soiree, wine is an integral part of it. Master of Wine, Sonal Holland, helps you demonstrate the best wine etiquette with these simple tips.

Tip 1: As a host, there is always one general rule to follow, which helps you never go wrong. Be generous with the wine you serve. Nothing is better than building great memories over a bottle of wine, so ensure you choose wisely and well.

Tip 2: The festive season is a great time to experiment when hosting intimate gatherings! We all have our tried and tested wines that we go back to, but why not expand your guest’s palettes by serving as many styles of wine as possible? When hosting a wine party at home, try to create an assortment of different bottles of wine, your guests can choose from. The beauty of wines is about enjoying the diversity of its various styles and discovering new tastes.

Tip 3: It’s important to invest in good quality stemware to serve wine. It’s a fact that the taste of even the most ordinary wines is enhanced when served in proper glasses. Choose clear stemware with no design or cuts. Ensure the glass has a lovely, steady base, a stem to hold the glass with, a broad base at the bottom of the bowl, and narrow rims. Keep it simple yet high-quality, and you will never go wrong.

Tip 4: When hosting an evening at home, chances are that some of your guests will arrive with gifts of their own, many times, a bottle of wine. It becomes your duty to ask your guests if they would like you to open their bottle and serve the wine to the guests – often, wine-loving guests make a lot of effort to choose and bring a good quality bottle of wine to a party, and would therefore appreciate you and the rest of the guests, trying what they have brought.

At other times, some guests are simply recycling bottles of wine they don’t want for themselves, so may not be comfortable with you opening their bottles at the party. Either way, it’s important that you ask them first, to let them decide if their bottle should be opened at the party or saved for later.

Tip 5: As a host, especially one who loves wines, it is absolutely fine for you to take the stage so to speak, to tell your guests a little about the wines you’ve chosen for the evening, and why. The only tip is: know when to stop. A few amusing, informational anecdotes about the bottles chosen are charming; anything more and you stand to lose your audience!

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