Wine 201: Etiquette for Wine Tasting

by tarynlachter

You’ve learned about the essentials of reading a wine label, the details of what goes into a wine tasting, and how to take notes, so now it’s time to learn the etiquette of wine tasting! 

You might be asking why we’re making such a big deal about wine tasting.

Well, for one, a wine tasting, whether held formally at a winery or held in your home on a Saturday night, is how you learn more about the intricacies of wine and your own personal wine preferences. 

You’ve learned about the essentials of reading a wine label, the details of what goes into a wine tasting, and how to take notes, so now it’s time to learn the etiquette of wine tasting! 

You might be asking why we’re making such a big deal about wine tasting. Well, for one, a wine tasting, whether held formally at a winery or held in your home on a Saturday night, is how you learn more about the intricacies of wine and your own personal wine preferences. 

That being said, there are some guidelines that one follows when doing a wine tasting, either in person or virtual. Although visiting wineries can be a party time, when you’re going specifically for tasting, it is a more reserved, elegant affair.

One of the first rules to wine tasting is that you’re not there to get drunk. This is a very intentional activity where you want to take your time tasting, smelling, and examining your wine so there isn’t any gulping or chugging your glass. Small sips, and many times, you spit it back out into a canister. You’re focused more on how it tastes and feels in your mouth than actually consuming the wine. 

Another guideline is to avoid wearing any perfumes or cologne, or even strongly smelling hair products. Your olfactory senses (in your nose) very directly correlate to your sense of taste so any outside influences can affect how you process the wine itself.

Try to fill your belly before you go to a tasting so that you aren’t putting alcohol in an empty stomach. Be mindful of what you eat as strong tastes and flavors like garlic, onions, and cheeses can also influence how your senses take in the wine itself, just like the smell of perfumes can. 

And finally, go with an open mind! You may be a seasoned wine drinker or just beginning your wine journey but every experience in a tasting room will give you a new perspective. Even if you’ve tried a million Pinot Noirs and are never that big of a fan, give it a try again. This one may strike your palate in a new way.

Listen to your wine educators, take notes, and relax. Wine tasting is such a beautiful and fun experience to do with friends and partners!



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