Do you know how to behave yourself at a wine tasting? The seasoned veteran knows but many novice attendees do not. It’s not that there is some hidden secret as to how to act, most of it is just common sense, it’s just very easy to overlook the little things.
As the weather warms up and outdoor activities increase, there will be more and more opportunities to attend wine tastings. A wine tasting can be as simple as a backyard gathering or as formal as a Wine Spectator Grand Tour Tasting. Some tastings are free and some can be very expensive. In the Charlotte Metro Area alone there are tastings almost every week. The Wine Maestro, Total Wine, The Wine Shop at Dilworth and many restaurants offer tastings and dinners quite often. Some charge a fee but many of them are totally free.
With this in mind, I think it’s time to go over a few suggestions that will make your wine tasting experience the best it can be; and to mention a few “no-no’s” to avoid spoiling the experience for others.
Dress properly for the type of event. I know it sounds like a no-brainer, but you’ll be surprised how many people just assume all wine tastings are very casual.
Don’t stink! This is important. You get all dressed up, you are all clean and ready to go. Of course you don’t stink; or do you. I’m not talking about sweaty stink. I’m talking about any smell that will detract from your and others tasting experience. Smell is an important part of wine tasting and if there are other overpowering smells floating through the room, well, that’s just not good. With this in mind, leave the perfumes and colognes in the bottle. That goes for loud after-shave or nosey body lotions as well. And please, no smoking. Not even beforehand. The smell can get into your clothes and follow you around the entire even.
Eat a little something beforehand. If this is not a food and wine event, having something in your stomach will help keep you from getting tipsy.
Don’t hog the tasting tables. Give everyone a chance. You can often come back later if there is a crowd.
Don’t expect to receive a full glass. The whole idea of a wine tasting is to try as many wines as you wish and if they gave you a whole glass you would never make it through the tasting.
Spit. (at least some) You will be tasting some great wines and no one likes to waste the good stuff, but all those little glasses can add up quick.
Think ahead and have a plan for the event. Where to start, what producers to see, etc.
Talk to people. Especially talk to the winemakers or distributors. They love it and you can learn a lot from them.
Use your tasting sheet. Most places give you one and it helps to have notes for later.
And last, but not least, have fun! That’s what it’s all about anyway.