Too often, wine knowledge is hard to find and even harder to understand, but I believe there’s a way to make learning about wine fun and accessible. And whether you’re a casual connoisseur or a self-proclaimed sommelier, we can all benefit from a little beginner’s crash course. I’m going to walk you through the basic serving skills every wine enthusiast should know, from opening the bottle to pouring a glass. Pro Tip: To get the most out of these videos you’ll need your favorite bottle of wine, a corkscrew or wine key, and a glass. Now let’s get started.

Step 1: Cut the foil

Wine 101: How to cut the foil on a bottle of wine
This may come as a surprise, but you don’t have to rip the foil to shreds and leave little cuts all over your fingers just to open a bottle of wine. All it takes is a wine key (I like using a waiter’s corkscrew because I can cut the foil and remove the cork with one tool) and some twists of the wrist. Cutting the foil below the bottom ridge of the bottle helps keep the nasty stuff like dirt and bacteria away from the cork area and out of your wine. Once you get the foil off, keep the wine key on hand! You’ll need it for step two.

Step Two: Uncork the bottle

Wine 101: How to open a bottle of wine
With your wine key still ready to go, it’s time to uncork your bottle. If you really want to look like a pro, examine the cork once it’s been removed. A good cork will be dry on the top and wet on the bottom, meaning the seal was good. If the cork is wet on the top and bottom it could be a sign there’s seepage, and if it’s dry on both ends, it could mean the bottle was stored upright. Either way, it’s likely air got into the bottle, which is bad news for your wine. When wine is exposed to small amounts of oxygen, like when it’s swirled in a glass, it helps open up the aromas and flavors, but too much oxygen has the opposite effect, and the bottle’s taste, smell, and color begin to deteriorate.

Step 3: Choose the right glass

Wine 101: What glass should I choose for this wine?
The shape of the glass might not seem important, but trust me, it makes a difference. Choosing the right glass for your wine is like choosing the right settings for your camera—it enhances the details and helps bring out the full beauty of what you’re capturing, giving you a more vivid and enjoyable experience.

In general, your red wines will go in wider rim glasses to allow more airflow, and white wines will go in more narrow-rimmed glasses to help direct the floral scents to your nose. For bubbly wines like champagne, smaller white wine glasses are used to help preserve the carbonation and flavor.

Step 4: Pour the wine, and don’t spill it!

Wine 101: How to pour a bottle of wine without spilling it

The foil is cut, the cork is out, and the glass is chosen. Now it’s time for the pour. Not sure how much to pour in a glass? I say listen to your heart, but if you want a guide, counting to five should give you about a five-ounce glass, which is considered the standard pour. And don’t forget a napkin to catch any lingering drops off the lip of the bottle!

And there you have it, the basics of opening a bottle of wine from the foil to the pour. Now you’re on your way to becoming a true wine pro. Until then, go enjoy this glass of wine, you’ve earned it.

For more Wine 101 education, make sure to follow me on Instagram. If you’re ready for the real crash course on wine, register for my online wine course and learn the basics of wine in one afternoon.