By Cristal Guiet on May 13th, 2023

Learning about wine can be very daunting, especially if you are just taking the first steps on your wine journey.  There is so much to learn and absorb, and you will be bombarded with a seemingly infinite amount of information. But a word of warning- not everything that you hear will be true.

There are many wine myths floating around and these misconceptions can easily lead you astray as you begin to discover the wonderful and exciting world of wine.  To help you avoid being derailed on your wine journey we have listed some of the most common misconceptions about wine.

Top Wine Myths

Putting a silver spoon in your open bottle of sparkling wine will keep it fresh

It sounds like a clever idea, metal is a good conductor and the spoon will chill quickly in the refrigerator making it more difficult for the gas to escape from the bottle.

Numerous well-respected researchers have tested this hypothesis and all have come to the same conclusion - it just does not work.

Fact: If you want to keep the gases in your bottle of sparkling wine then investing in a good wine stopper designed for sparkling wine bottles is a much more effective way of preserving your opened unused wine.

Wine packaged in a box is of inferior quality

Fact: It is fair to say that packaging is one of the factors that are considered when determining the quality of a wine. However, as sustainable winemaking is becoming more commonplace, winemakers are trying to reduce their packaging by using non-glass alternatives.

Most wines are made for immediate drinking so as long as the bag in a box protects the wine from light and air, do not be put off by the packaging.It is easier to transport a bag in a box (BIB) wine. Consumption and conservation of unused wine are also easier for the consumer.

These boxes have a special seal that can help keep the wine longer than a traditional wine stopper. As alternative packaging continues to evolve, there are likely to be more great wines appearing in less traditional packaging - Watch this space!

Drinking wine gives you a bad hangover

Fact: It is the conversion of alcohol to acetaldehyde which are responsible for hangovers, faster heartbeat, headache, or an upset stomach.The higher the alcohol level of your drink the sooner you will begin to feel its effects.

Always read the alcohol content on the label of whatever you are drinking, drink water, listen to your body, and consume any type of alcohol in moderation.

You should not chill red wine

One of the things that you hear as a beginner wine drinker is that only white and sparkling wines should be chilled and red wines should be served warm (room temperature).

Fact: There are many times when red wines are better expressed if they are warmer, however, lighter and medium-bodied reds with low tannins such as wines made from Pinot Noir can be very pleasant if chilled. Note that room temperature is cooler than you might think 55-64°F (13-18°C).

If you want to drink a full-bodied red wine in the peak of a hot summer, pop it into the fridge for around 20 minutes and you may be pleasantly surprised with the results.You can have a load of fun experimenting with wine temperatures.

For more information about the right temperature to serve wine refer our article What's The Right Serving Temperature for My Wine? Reds, Whites, & Sparklings to better understand the correct serving temperatures for wines.

An expensive decanter will give the best results when decanting wine

Fact: Though an expensive decanter may be more aesthetically pleasing to the eye, a cheaply priced decanter will do the job just as well as long as it has been properly crafted.

Red wine should be paired with meat and white wine with fish

Fact: These are typically safe pairings, however, there is a variety of different white wines that go well with meat, a full-bodied Chardonnay is a perfect complement to a poultry dish or a light red wine will go well with many types of fish.

Be adventurous and experiment with different food and wine combinations.For your perfect food and wine pairing refer to our article The Basics of Food and wine pairing.

Organic wine does not give you a hangover

Fact: Like any other wine, organic wines may contain high levels of alcohol and therefore as we learned earlier can give you a headache just like any other alcoholic beverage if you drink too much of it. Drinking in moderation is the best way to avoid a hangover.

Sulfites give you a headache

Fact: Sulfites are not the culprit, it is the histamines that are often present in red wine that may cause your headache. If you have a reaction to sulfites it may be much more serious, often resulting in anaphylactic shock.

A blended wine is inferior to non-blended wines

Fact: This is very untrue, some of the most famous and most expensive (Bordeaux) wines in the world or a (GSM -Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre blend) are blended.

A great winemaker will display his brilliance by managing to capture all of the nuances of the different grape varieties that he blends together, creating some amazing wines.

Great wines have great “legs”

Fact: Those legs or “tears” that you see running down the inside of your glass are not a sign of a wine’s quality. The “legs” are actually an indicator of the sugar content, alcohol level, and color intensity of a wine.

Great wines can have legs but this would be dependent on the presence of the factors mentioned above.

A wine with a screw cap is bad quality

Fact: Screw caps are used as a closure for many fabulous wines and have started to become a very popular form of closure, especially in new world countries of New Zealand and Australia.

The use of screw caps helps to prevent some faults that may occur in wine such as “cork taint”. Screw caps are also easier for consumers to use.

The closure also helps to keep oxygen from contaminating any unused wine that is left in the bottle.

 Wine improves with age

Fact: Most wines are made to be drunk within the first few years of bottling.

The old exquisite bottles of wine that are of exceptional quality and are sold at auction for astronomical prices are few and far between.

These wines age well because they have been specifically created for long-term aging. They contain high levels of tannins and/or acidity that help them to age well.

Just because a wine is old does not mean that it is good. Do not assume that wines improve with age.

We are all guilty of believing different myths, that are related to many subjects in our everyday lives. Do not take everything you hear at face value, if the information presented to you seems less than believable, be adventurous and question the validity of the statement through further research.

You will be amazed how many “facts” are actually “fiction.”.


Author: Cristal Guiet

Cristal has more than twenty three years of experience in the wine industry. In addition to creating wine lists in Michelin three-star restaurants, working with prestigious London wine merchants, and starting her own wine tourism company in France, Cristal has been writing about wine for over fifteen years. She holds the Advanced degree from Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET), and resides in London.

Debunking Wine Myths

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