After many years living in and traveling around Italy as an American, just trying to understand the wine, a few key\u2014yet unanticipated\u2014 habits rubbed off on me. The biggest one: How to drink wine like an Italian. There is a certain ceremony and order to it\u2014if you ask an Italian. I did not. But I might as well have asked each winemaker I met from Piedmont to Puglia, \u201cWhat\u2019s one thing you think Americans are doing wrong when we drink wine?\u201d Here\u2019s how they answered the question I did not ask.\n\n\n\nSiediti\n\n\n\nIllustration by Henryk Zimak\n\n\n\nGrab a chair. There is nowhere else to be, they might implore. Sit down, relax and let what\u2019s in the glass pull you in.\n\n\n\nUn bicchiere?\n\n\n\nUnlike their French neighbors, the Italians have fully embraced the glassmaking talents of the Austrians and Germans. If there is wine around, I guarantee it won\u2019t be without proper stemware on the table. (Unless you\u2019re imbibing Barbera\u2014then Grandpa\u2019s water glass is just fine.)\n\n\n\nGli amici\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\nWhat\u2019s better than a good bottle of wine? Sharing it with friends. Camaraderie is key. Maybe the only real rule at all is to enjoy wine however and with whomever you like.\n\n\n\nMangia!\n\n\n\nIllustration by Henryk Zimak\n\n\n\nWine is basically the fifth food group in Italy. Even the simplest Italian bar will irrefutably provide a slice of bruschetta or a few olives with your glass of vino. You cannot have one without the other, so grab yourself something da mangiare.\n\n\n\nVa piano\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\nOne of the biggest blunders you can make in front of the Italian who made the wine in your glass is to hurry through it. During my first visit to Barolo, while I was attempting to be polite and efficiently taste through a handful of wines, I heard, \u201cTaking your time with Barolo is essential to understanding how it evolves and changes over time in your glass.\u201d \n\n\n\n\n\n\n\nSo let me save you that same embarrassment and encourage you to linger longer.\n\n\n\nThis article originally appeared in the August/September 2022 issue of Wine Enthusiast magazine. Click here to subscribe today!