Wine drinking habits of the average American.

September 28th, 2008

Wine Bong

Wine changes. A bottle of wine displays different characteristics with changes in its own temperature as well as with those of the environment. Decanting changes a wine as well. Much of how a wine smells and tastes is a result of the wine serving ritual and drinking environment.

Steve Heimoff wrote about “tasting room bias” some time ago. I commented that much of that can be attributed to the differences in humidity, temperature and barometric pressure differences between the tasting room and his apartment.

Additionally, in the tasting room, a bottle is tipped numerous times before it goes empty. This oxygenates the wine and achieves the same effect as extended decanting. In my own tasting and assessment of wines I have noticed that a wine will display very different characteristics if I taste it in an air-conditioned room versus outside, on my patio.

To my knowledge, very few – if any – critics decant wines and re-taste from the same bottle over several hours. While this may be a profound difference of protocol, procedure and tasting methodology between myself and other critics, it is reasonable to believe that only a small fraction of wine consumers decant their wines or chill them to traditionally accepted serving temperatures.

Some people can be pedantic about their wine serving ritual, while others couldn’t care less about conventions. Some people do things with their wine that would make others shudder and seek therapy. But exactly what are the typical wine serving habits of the average American?

Enter Wine Surveys my other blog intended to be a clearinghouse of wine-related surveys. I have created a new survey which seeks to understand the serving habits of wine drinkers across all strata. When there is sufficient data, I will publish the results as I recently did with the TCA taint survey. I realize that my sensory acuity may vary from that of my readers. I want to understand what their typical wine consumption ritual and environment are like so I can best relate to them the nature of the wines I write about.

In a nutshell, the survey asks how participants chill their wines (if they do at all), if they decant them, whether they use variety- or blend-specific stemware, if they consume most of their wines with or without food and whether they drink wine outdoors or indoors (and what their indoor environments are like).

If you are a wine drinker of any level, please contribute by answering these 12 questions.

If you are a wine blogger or wine writer, a member of a wine club or a wine tasting group or you work in a tasting room, please consider telling people about this survey.

The more data we have the more meaningful the results will be.


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4 Responses to “Wine drinking habits of the average American.”

  1. Morton Leslie Says:

    At one time I might have downed a bottle by tipping it once, but then I started to use a glass. Now I find I tip it a bunch of times as my wife and I consume it. My wife thinks I’m crazy because I take a cold bottle of wine out of the cellar in the winter, carefully cradle it, remove the foil, and then microwave it to room temp. I was so pleased to find Matt Kramer did it as well.

    I remember a wine writer who had this ritual of “aeration.” He would open a bottle, hold the cork in one hand, his watch in the other, then after a proscribed time, like a minute or 90 seconds, pour a sample and put the cork back in the bottle. He would taste the sample. He would repeat this ritual, cork in cork out, until he thought the wine improved. In his mind he thought that each time he put the cork in the bottle all aeration/oxidation ceased (despite the ullage and all the air in the headspace he was creating.) His wine reviews always had the minutes and seconds he recommended for “improving” the wine.

  2. DUI Attorney Says:

    I personally keep my wines at 62\. Thank you very much for the article by the way. I really enjoyed looking through some of your links (12 Questions, Surveys).

    Your site has now been bookmarked after reading through a couple of great articles!

  3. Wine Blogging Wednesday 61: At the source: Fulkerson Winery « Ithacork Says:

    [...] from the suggests that over the course of the day, tasting room bottles are poured from (tipped over) many [...]

  4. Anthony Says:

    Back when I was in college, we ran out of beer and the only thing we had was a bunch of bottles of St. James Winery Velvet White. Strangely enough, binge drinking those wasn’t too bad. But the hangover was HORRIBLE! To this day that is still my favorite wine and its under 10 bucks.