Wine tastings are a great way to expand your palette and your knowledge – and discover new wines you may have never tried. Whether you’re sipping from small plastic cups in a local wine store or in an elegant tasting room at a winery, we have a few tips to guide you through the process.
But what to do? Look like an expert in 4 simple steps:
1) Look – Observe to color and clarity. Be more specific than just “red” – what kind of red is it? Maroon, purple, ruby, or even brown? Is it cloudy or clear?
2) Swirl – When you swirl, generally the more droplets of wine that cling to the inside of the glass, the higher alcohol content.
3) Smell – Bring the glass up to your nose and take in the aroma.
4) Sip – Sip, don’t gulp, and let it roll around your mouth. You pick up different texture and flavor sensations in different parts of our mouths. Think about what flavors are standing out to you.
DO: Take chances. You’re not committing to a full bottle – or even a full glass. Try something you think you may not like – you may be pleasantly surprised!
DON’T: Be afraid to spit. Wine tastings are one of the few times when spitting isn’t considered rude. If you don’t like a wine or don’t want to drink everything you’re tasting, don’t be shy about making use of the spittoons.
DO: Ask questions! Learn about what you’re tasting. The host is there to help you and guide you through your tasting. It’s their job to know everything about the wines they’re serving, so make the most of their presence.
DON’T: Drink too fast. Especially if you’re on an extended tour or tasting several wineries, drink plenty of water and don’t go on an empty stomach.
DO: Take notes (or photos): Write down the varietals you enjoy – or snap a picture on your smartphone – so you can enjoy them again!