Your friends have invited you to a wine tasting event, which sounds awesome! Only one problem—you don’t know quite what a wine tasting is.
If you’re new to wine tastings, know that they’re an opportunity to sample a range of wines from a winery or bar. Most will include a mix of white wines, reds, and sparkling, selected by the winemaker or bartender.
Most wine tastings are free, but some might charge a small tasting fee per person.
Want to find out more wine etiquette tips? If so, keep reading to learn everything you need to know about your first wine tasting.
Prepare for the Occasion
You’re about to head to the best vineyard in the area to sample some delicious wine, but first, you need to prepare!
The first step is deciding what to wear. Most every wine tasting will offer both whites and reds, but we all know how easily red can stain.
So, we recommend avoiding wearing white! Also, most wine tastings are done standing and might be outside, so wear comfortable shoes that you won’t mind getting a bit dirty.
To keep your hands free, a cross-body bag can be better than a purse you need to hold. Because you’ll probably want to purchase some wine, you’ll want your debit card or cash too.
Consider a sun hat, if outdoors, and also bring along a little notebook if you want to take notes about the wines you try.
One of the biggest mistakes is showing up to a wine tasting on an empty stomach! Wine is strong, with each glass containing an average of 11-13% alcohol content.
To avoid it going straight to your head, eat a filling meal before you start drinking. Some wineries might offer snacks and finger foods, but unless you definitely know that a meal will be served, then assume there won’t be food.
Chat to the Winemaker
Often, wine tastings will be led by the winemaker themselves. This is an awesome opportunity to learn all about the winemaking process and learn more about the flavors and ingredients used to make the wine.
They can also make personalized recommendations, based on the type of wine you usually enjoy. This is a great way to discover new wines that you might not otherwise have found.
Just remember that, at busy wineries, you don’t want to take up too much of the winemaker’s time if others are waiting.
Remember That Spitting Is Ok
It seems weird, but spitting is not only allowed at wine tastings, but even encouraged! You’ll often see spittoons around the winery that you can pour your wine into after tasting.
This is because wine is strong, so if you want to taste many varieties, you might find yourself feeling a bit tipsy after a few. For some, this is part of the fun, but if you prefer to remain level-headed, you’re perfectly ok to pour out your wine sample after you’ve tasted it.
Many wine tastings will offer anywhere from 4-10 wines. This can be a lot to keep track of, which is why many wine tasters take notes on their phone or with a notebook.
Say you come across a full-bodied, rich merlot that you absolutely love. But, after trying four other reds, how can you remember which one you liked?
To make it easier to decide which wines you want to purchase, or sample again, feel free to jot down a few notes. Or, you can even use your phone’s camera to take photos of the labels you like the most.
Choose a Few Bottles to Take Home
The whole point of wine tastings is for wineries to let customers test their wines so they can decide which ones they want to buy. So, to support the winery, it’s usually a good idea to buy at least one bottle to take home.
Luckily, most wineries charge fair prices, compared to the mark-up you’d pay at a specialty wine store. You also might be able to find rare, special edition wines that you can’t purchase anywhere else.
Wines straight from the vineyard also make for a thoughtful gift to give to friends and family.
If you’re worried about not being able to finish a bottle after you open it, then it helps to invest in a wine saver to make the bottle last longer.
Get Home Safely
After the wine tasting, think about how you’ll get home safely. Even a few small tastings can add up, so you never want to drive if you’ve had too much to drink.
Consider getting a cab or Uber to the winery, so that you don’t need to worry about driving home. Or, if you’re visiting the winery with a group, many wine regions offer bus services so that you can safely winery hop all day.
Have Fun at Your First Wine Tasting Event With These Tips
If you’re preparing for a wine tasting event, we hope these tips help you learn more about what to expect.
Above all, remember to have fun! Wine tastings are fun, social events where you’re sure to discover some new wines, meet new people, and enjoy the beautiful views of a picturesque winery.
You might enjoy it so much that you start planning your next one!
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