If you’ve ever wondered how to pour wine without leaving a Jackson Pollock-style aftermath on your counter, rest assured, you’re not alone. Pouring wine like a sommelier is an art—the Court of Master Sommeliers actually evaluates the skill on its Level 2 exam.
Whether you’re pursuing formal certification or simply want to use fewer paper towels at the dinner table, learning how to pour without spilling is crucial for anyone who loves wine.
Hold the Wine Bottle From the Base
It might feel natural to hold a wine bottle just below the neck, but if you do, physics works against you. Bottles are heaviest at the bottom.
“The best position for your hand on the bottle is at the base of it, the part of the bottle with the most girth,” says Nicole Erica Rodriguez, a Baltimore-based sommelier and founder of Wine Culture with Nicole. “Your strength and control come from holding it at the heaviest part.”
The undersides of many wine bottles have an indentation called a punt. Those with larger hands may find the punt a useful place to put your thumb while you grip the base. If that feels awkward, however, or if your bottle lacks a punt, simply put your hand beneath the bottle as if you are palming a grapefruit.