How to be a wine snob in 4 minutes

Not that anyone’s expecting you to become a sommelier overnight, but who doesn’t want to be able to enjoy wine as much as they can? Whether you plan to show off your refined taste or sip in style all for yourself, we’re here to make sure you know your Malbec from your MCC. We’d all rather be in the know than not. Below, we’ve answered four key questions every aspiring wine connoisseur should know.
Credit: Adapted from Everything you wanted to know about wine but were too afraid to ask – A Platter’s Guide.


  1. What’s the difference between Shiraz and Syrah?

    This is one of those jokes in wine circles: laughing at someone who proclaims, “I hate Shiraz, but I love a good Syrah.” Shiraz tends to be bolder and fruity, whereas Syrah is the French nomenclature and often refers to leaner, more peppery wines. If a New World winemaker feels as if they’ve made something closer to the French style, it isn’t uncommon for them to deem it a Syrah. Looks like the joke's on the wine snobs.
  2. How long does bubbly last?

    Although we won’t comment on its validity, a common wine myth says that inserting a teaspoon into the neck of an unfinished bottle of MCC or Champagne and putting it in the fridge will keep it fizzy. It’s better to simply invest in a bubbly stopper that will help you keep it for a day or two longer.
  3. How much do I pour?

    While it’s quite alright to fill up to the level you like, there are many reasons not to pour too much wine into your glass. Beside the risk of spillage, wine tends to be rather shy and will improve if left in the glass for a while with some room to move. Pour to about four centimetres below the rim to allow the wine to breathe.
  4. Should I swop glasses?

    Not always. If you’re sipping white wine and open another bottle of a similar varietal, you can generally keep the same glass. If you are about to drink a red, you can also keep your glass as most red wine will overpower the white you had earlier. However, if you drank a glass of red first and now want to move over to white, always use a fresh glass. Similarly, if you happen to have a very special bottle of wine, you’ll want a clean glass so that nothing interferes with its flavour.