Five things they don’t tell you… about wine in France

Never chill a bottle of red and other unwritten rules around drinking wine - but do you agree?

Pouring just a third of a glass is elegant
Published Last updated

1. Les apéros

Wine is a recent arrival at French apéros.

Traditionally, apéritifs were pastis for monsieur, and kir for madame (white wine with crème de cassis).

Today, however, a glass of dry white or rosé is perfectly acceptable, although it might come with more than a dash of grapefruit juice in it.


Read more: ‘Tchin tchin’, ‘santé’, eye contact: The rituals of French apéros

2. Les digestifs

Red wine is often paired with cheese, but at formal meals, once the fromage has been removed, the wine will disappear as well.

Dessert might be paired with a sweet wine, and you might thereafter appreciate a petit digestif, but the real wine will not come back until lunch tomorrow.


3. Le petit verre

Glasses should never be filled up.

Just a third of a glass is elegant, so the nez can be appreciated because, naturellement, you are not going to knock it back like a thirsty camel.

If the wine mysteriously evaporates, however, pourquoi pas a further soupçon?

A la votre!

4. Les faux pas

Do not chill red wine. Just don’t do it. Do not put it in the fridge, do not add ice cubes.

If you insist on committing this crime against the grape, at least confine yourself to abusing dry rosé and/or white wine drunk somewhere down south and preferably in la France profonde during les grandes vacances.


Read more: Rosé wine guide - a tour through France’s pink wine producing regions

5. La fête

If you ever find yourself learning a French drinking song, particularly if the chorus involves lots of glouya, glouya, glouya, be resigned to not getting home until dawn.

You will almost certainly have a wooden gob and need much coffee.


Related articles

Five things you may not know... about pets in France

Five things they don’t tell you... about hanky panky in France

Five things they don’t tell you about… French attitudes to healthcare