How to Get the Most from a Wine Tasting Visit

Once you are in the winery's tasting room and have chosen the wine tasting option for you, then the fun really begins.  There is so much to experience. And the wine is just part of it.

As stated previously, you can simply work your way down the tasting menu or you can focus on particular varietals.  Working your way down the list is always interesting since you get the option to compare and contrast the wines. But definitely tell your host what kinds of wines you prefer. Based on your preferences, your host will be able to pour other options directed at your preference.  That's when you can really have an aha moment and say, "That one's really nice!"

If you continue to give your host feedback on how you like the wines, you'll often find them saying, "Ok, if you really like that one, here's another you might like."  And often, those will be wines that are not on the standard tasting menu.  Remember, they are hoping to sell you wine, and if they can find a wine that you think is amazing, you'll both benefit.

Also remember to take your time.  Don't rush through the tastings.  Plan to spend 30-60 minutes in the tasting room.  Use the time to listen to your host, ask questions and learn.  They'll not only tell you about the wines, but also give you details about the vineyards, the owner, and the wine maker.  It's these little tidbits that make a difference in your appreciation of the winery and their wines.

And, please, let your host do all the work. They are there to serve you. Let them direct the tasting, do the pouring and manage your glass.  Usually your glass will not require rinsing, but if it does, let your server take care of it. They'll usually rinse with wine, not water, since the water can leave behind unwanted flavors. But, you can feel free to dump any remaining wine from your glass in the dump bucket, that's fine.

You may also want to eat a water cracker or un-seasoned bread stick in between each wine, just to neutralize your pallet. That can help you re-set your taste buds in preparation for the next wine.

And once you get through the tasting list, you are allowed to "revisit" a wine.  This gives you the opportunity to retry the wine to confirm your initial impressions and make final decisions on wine purchases.

There are also a bunch of do's and don'ts when wine tasting. So, we'll address wine tasting etiquette next time. Until then, cheers!