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Serving wine at Christmas – dilemmas solved

What kind of sparkling should you choose for your party – and where from? Should you let the wine breathe on Christmas day? When should you start chilling it? And what to do with any leftovers? We’ve got your questions answered with our wine at Christmas guide…

Wine at Christmas guide – dilemmas solved

Click on the links below to read the full articles.

See also: Wines to pair with turkey at Christmas

How do I chill wine in a hurry?

cool wine

Credit: Decanter/ Ellie Douglas

The neighbours are coming round for a last minute festive drink, but there’s nothing cool in the fridge. What to do? Xavier Rousset MS suggests a bucket of icy water with a bit of salt – and make sure the bottle is submerged.

Should you put wine in the freezer?

There’s nothing wrong with that – and wrapping in a wet cloth will speed it up. Just make sure you don’t forget about it!

How to get the serving temperatures right on Christmas day

wine serving temperature

Let us help you to chill this Christmas. Credit: Sergiy Tryapitsyn / Alamy.

Should you put ice cubes in wine?

Although you’re free to enjoy wine how you’d like, the problem with ice cubes in wine is that as it melts, it dilutes the wine. Try keeping some grapes in the freezer and popping those in your glass instead.

How long should I chill my Champagne for?

chill champagne

When chilling Champagne for Christmas day, it’s worth remembering that your fridge is probably stocked full with food. Therefore, it’s a good idea to get the bottle in there the night before, says Decanter tastings director Christelle Guibert.

Does putting a spoon in my sparkling wine keep it sparkling?

There’s no real evidence to support this idea  – really it’s just another wine myth. Get yourself a Champagne stopper if you think there’ll be leftovers.

What should you do if your wine cork breaks or crumbles?

wine cork breaks

What should you do if your wine cork breaks? Credit: Cath Lowe/ Decanter

We’ve all been there – the cork crumbles into a special bottle you’ve been saving up. You can filter it out, but be sure to consider things like how old it is, and how soon you’ll be drinking it, say our experts.

Should you decant your white wines?

Decanter Volcanic Wines of Italy tasting 2013

Steven Spurrier personally decants white Rhônes and aged Alsace Rieslings. But remember, if you do decant a white wine, don’t give it a chance to warm up.

Should I let my wine ‘breathe’?

wine breathe

Just taking the cork out early won’t do anything. Either decant fully if it’s needed, or open when it’s time to drink it.

When should you double decant a wine?

let wine breathe

Double decanting wines at the Bordeaux Fine Wine Encounter 2017.

It’s often done for some of our masterclass wines at Decanter Fine Wine Encounters, but not all wines benefit from double decanting – particularly fragrant and lightly structured ones.


Follow the Decanter guide to getting it right on Christmas day, from Champagne through to sweet wines.

And after the festivities…

How long can I keep wine open?

keep wine open

It will last longer than you probably think it will – most still wines can last between three to five days.

See Christmas wine suggestions and food pairing advice

Article updated in December 2018.

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