But you should do it anyway—we promise it's worth it.
As it turns out, swirling wine is about much more than just looking cool.
Why It's Worth it to Swirl
"When you swirl a glass of wine," Robert Fritz, Director of Fine Wine at Chelsea Wine Vault, told me over the phone, "you're releasing its esters, aroma, and flavor compounds. When they combine with the oxygen in the air, they undergo a myriad of chemical processes." This makes the aroma compounds—the apricots you might get from a Chenin Blanc, or the tropical fruit and honey in a Gewürztraminer—smell richer.
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"It doesn't change the wine," Tom Geniesse, founder of the Manhattan wine shop Bottlerocket, added, "but it does help you fully experience it."
"Swirling for beer accomplishes the same as it would for wine," Gwen Conley, co-author of Beer Pairing: The Essential Guide from the Pairing Pros, explained. "That swirling motion releases the volatile aromatics, which will enhance your overall flavor experience. On the higher alcohol beers, it's always a treat to see the legs form on the sides of the glass."
But it's important not to swirl too much! Since effervescence and CO2 is an important part of beer, you want to make sure you don't release too many bubbles. The same goes for sparkling wines.
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