Pinot Noir wines are among the most popular red wines. Follow the key etiquette rules sure to store, serve, pair, and drink Pinot Noir wines the right way.

pinot noir grapes

What Pinot Noir etiquette is

Pinot Noir etiquette is the set of rules to properly serve and drink Pinot Noir wines. Such rules help avoid behaviors that can disrespect hosts or guests, or make you look unpolite.

If you are hosting, follow Pinot Noir etiquette to appropriately serve it to your guests.

If you are a guest, respect Pinot Noir etiquette rules to properly drink and enjoy it.

What you should know about Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir is a variety of grapes with red-dark skin. It can be the sole grape used in the production of a specific wine, or it can be blended with other grapes.

It is used to make red wine, Champagne, and sparkling wines such as Franciacorta. Pinot Noir grapes grow best in cooler climates. Regions that grow Pinot Noir grapes include Burgundy in France, Piedmont in Italy, and Oregon and North California in the USA.

Pinot Noir wines tend to be fruity, light-to-medium-bodied, and light red in color.

how to serve and drink pinot noir

Etiquette rules for serving and drinking Pinot Noir

1) How to store Pinot Noir

Store Pinot Noir in a cool place. Keep the bottle away from direct light and far from any source of heat.

Place the bottle in a horizontal position, to keep the cork moist. Dry corks might let the oxygen in and spoil the wine.

Do not store Pinot Noir in the fridge or in the freezer.

2) How to prepare Pinot Noir

Some Pinot Noir wines benefit from decanting. The contact with the oxygen makes the texture and flavors of the wine more gentle to the palate.

Before serving, pour the full bottle of wine into a decanter. Then, let the wine breathe. The amount of time needed for decanting depends on the wine and on personal tastes. Usually, Pinot Noir should breathe between 10 and 20 minutes. Avoid keeping Pinot Noir for over 30 minutes in the decanter.

You can refrigerate some light-bodied Pinot Noir before serving. Place them in the fridge for between 30 minutes and 2 hours.

Avoid chilling glasses in the fridge. The condensation waters down the wine and dilutes its taste.

3) How to serve & present Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir wines usually taste better between 13°C and 16°C (55°F and 60°F). Cooler temperatures risk preventing Pinot Noir wines from releasing their full aroma.

Present Pinot Noir in its bottle or the decanter. On formal occasions, it is best to present the wine in its bottle, even if you let it decant first. After decanting, pour Pinot Noir back into its bottle using a small kitchen funnel.

After presenting it, do not keep the bottle in an ice bucket.

Hold the bottle by its body, never by its neck or cork. Serve Pinot Noir in red wine glasses, which are larger and wider compared to white wine glasses. Fill the glass between ⅓ and ½.

4) When to serve & drink Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir is most appropriate for light meals and after-dinner drinks. Pinot Noir wines tend to have a fruity aroma, thus they are not the best option for pre-meal drinks.

You can serve Pinot Noir on informal occasions, such as a party or a barbecue.

5) Food & aromas to pair Pinot Noir with

The ideal food pairings depend on the variety of Pinot Noir and on its aromatic profile.

In general, Pinot Noir pairs well with strong but not-too-strong flavors. Cheeses such as goat cheese and Brie. Poultry meat such as duck and chicken. Pork, lamb, grilled tuna, and mushrooms.

6) Etiquette for drinking Pinot Noir

Drink Pinot Noir in red wine glasses. Hold the glass by its stem to avoid warming the wine with your hand.

Drink it in small sips. A glass of Pinot Noir should last between 10 and 20 minutes.

Do not drink shots of Pinot Noir.

Do not add ice to Pinot Noir. First, ice waters down the wine and its bouquet. Furthermore, ice is usually added to low-quality or cheap beverages. Thus, adding ice to Pinot Noir can be seen as an offense to the quality of the wine, and therefore to your host.

pinot noir etiquette mistakes

Pinot Noir etiquette: the worst mistakes

The Rude Index identifies and ranks negative behaviors. 

A high score (8-10) means that the behavior has the potential to trigger a conflict with others. A medium score (4-7) means that the behavior risks making you look inelegant and unsophisticated. More about the Rude Index and its methodology here.  

Avoid the worst Pinot Noir etiquette mistakes. 

  • 10/10. Getting drunk.
  • 7/10. Drinking shots of Pinot Noir.
  • 6/10. Pairing Pinot Noir with the wrong food or aromas.
  • 6/10. Not holding the glass by the stem. 
  • 3/10. Adding ice to Pinot Noir.

Additional information for properly serving Pinot Noir

How many calories per serving?

Counting calories is important to stay healthy and to correctly plan a menu.

On average, Pinot Noir wines contain about 80 calories per 100 ml (3.5 oz). A glass of Pinot Noir is typically 150 ml (5 oz) and has 120 calories.

How to buy the best Pinot Noir

A crucial factor in Pinot Noir etiquette is to serve the best product possible to your guests.


Pinot Noir wines are available all year round.

Choose the best

To choose your ideal Pinot Noir, start from the occasion. For example, a light-bodied and drier Pinot Noir can be a good fit for an aperitivo. While a rich and fruity Pinot Noir can accompany a cheese platter or a light red meat course.

Then, the safest choice is to buy Pinot Noir from an established wine region. Prefer Pinot Noir from areas with a cooler climate. Such as Burgundy in France, Piedmont in Italy, and Oregon and North California in the USA.

Alternatives to Pinot Noir

To substitute Pinot Noir, look for grapes that yield wines with a comparable aroma and body profile. Try Sangiovese or Montepulciano wines.


  • Preliminary Study of Australian Pinot Noir Wines by Colour and Volatile Analyses: