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The Witness Wine

When my mother told me I would have to use math when I grew up, this is exactly what I was hoping she meant.

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The Math

A normal wine bottle contains 750ml of wine, or a little over 25 ounces. Our extraordinary math skills tell us that is equal to five glasses of wine, each containing about 5 ounces. What does one do with five glasses of wine? Well, don’t drink it all yourself. Wine is one of the classic elements of a life to be shared with friends. So, the answer is clear. Invite three friends over and pour each a glass. That leaves you with one glass leftover. Sounds like the perfect time to introduce you to a new wine-tasting concept: The Witness Wine.

The Theory

…of the Witness Wine came to me on our last trip through Burgundy, while walking a family winery with the beautiful and spunky old French lady who owned the estate. Through a translator, she discussed the essence of life and love that is sitting with friends and sharing a really good bottle of wine.

As she got older, she said, drinking a glass of her favorite family Burgundy took longer and longer. Her desires and experiences weren’t about simply drinking, as they were when she was younger. Wine became more about the senses, and drinking it became more about process. The sight, smell and taste of the wine was important, as was spending time with friends.

As she got older and slowed her sipping, and as her pallet developed over time, she found that the wine in her glass changed as she drank it. It warmed from cooler cellar temperature to room temperature. It came into contact with air. The wine opened and evolved once leaving the bottle, and a second glass was often completely different than the first. The Witness Wine was born.

The process of pouring the Witness Wine is simple; open a bottle, decant if necessary, pour a glass and set it aside. Then, and only then, pour for yourself and your guests. You, plus three guests, plus the witness wine and you have five glasses of wine from your bottle: Simple wine math.

The Reason

for pouring the Witness Wine is a tad more complex, but is pure genius. No, it’s not so you can project friendship characteristics to the glass, talking to it and using it as proof that you never drink alone. That’s just sick and I can’t believe anyone would ever do that…cough, cough. The real reason for the witness wine is to taste and experience how the wine changes, noting the differences between glasses, from the time you pour the original out of the bottle. Let a glass of wine sit in a glass for 20 to 30 minutes while you sip on another and I guarantee the sensory qualities of that wine will change.

The other benefit of pouring the Witness Wine, and it’s kind of a selfish one, is that it’s your wine. What you’ve done is just institutionalize and rationalize yourself into getting two glasses out of your special bottle. I think that’s fair. Yes, you should let your friends smell and taste how the wine changes, but you get to drink it.

So, next time you decide to open a special bottle, or any bottle that you are interested in truly experiencing, pour the Witness Wine. Get it out of the bottle first and see how the wine evolves over the short time it takes you to finish the first glass. You’ll be shocked, and thrilled. Just don’t talk to it. That’s just creepy.



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