Hold the glass by the stem. This keeps your hands from warming the wine and putting fingerprints on the bowl. A pitch of water is often provided to rince the glass between different wines and is avalible to help cleanse the palette between wines. Crackers are also avalible at most tasting venues to help with palate cleansing during the tasting. Wearing heavy perfume or smoking before or during a tasting can offset the taste of the wine.
Opening the Bottle
Basic steps for opening wine with a waiter's pull: First start with the bottle on a flat surface that puts the neck of the bottle at elbow height. Then remove the metallic wrapper around the neck by using the blade of the opener. Making sure that the corkscrew is perpendicular to the surface you are working on, twist the corkscrew evenly into the center until the majority of the screw is buried. Hook the metal lever over the rim of the bottle and pull up. The cork should easily slide out.
Still wines should be poured towards the centre of the glass, while sparkling wines should be poured against the side to preserve bubbles. To control drips, twist the bottle slightly as you tilt it upright. When pouring wine, fill the glass no more than two-thirds (about 5-6 oz). This allows your guests to swirl the wine, smell the bouquet. A glass can always be refilled if desired. At a dinner party, serve wine to the women and older guests first, then the men and end with your own glass.
*Photo courtesy of Texas Department of Agriculture