Wine Tasting Etiquette - Things to Avoid

Last time we addressed all the things you should do when visiting a winery and tasting their wines.  Along with all the things that you should do, there are also some things that you really shouldn't do while wine tasting.  Avoiding these will ensure that you have an enjoyable experience at the winery.

What you should avoid when wine tasting:

  • Don't put on cologne, aftershave or perfumes. You, and those around you, are going to want to smell the aromas of the wines, not strong personal scents.
  • For the same reason as avoiding wearing strong scents, don't introduce anything else into the tasting room that has a strong smell. So, don't walk in with a freshly brewed cup of coffee. Leave it in the car or outside.
  • Avoid chewing gum or breath mints.  These will really affect your ability to taste the subtle flavors of the wines.
  • When you arrive at the winery, it may be very tempting to take a walk in the vineyards, pick a grape, or poke around some of the other buildings at the winery.  Check with your host in the tasting room to see if tours of the winery are available.
  • Since wine tasting is an adult activity, leave the kids at home.
  • While winery dogs are very common, leave your pets at home.
  • Don't assume your tasting room host is going to be an all-knowing wine expert.  You may get lucky and have the winemaker as your host, or you may get a college kid earning some extra spending money. 
  • It's a winery tasting room, not a bar.  Conduct yourself with some sophistication. Avoid being loud and trying to turn the activity into a party.
  • Don't try to haggle over prices of the tasting or a wine purchase. Save it for the car dealership.
  • Never reach for the wine bottle and pour your own taste. Let your server do all the pouring.
  • If you are on a tour bus that is serving alcohol, avoid it.  If you arrive at a tasting room and appear to be intoxicated, you will not be served. It's against the law to serve someone who is intoxicated.  And, please don't walk into a tasting room with a beer, glass of wine or a cocktail.
  • If you choose to have lunch at a winery's picnic grounds, you may only drink wine purchased at that winery. No outside wines may be consumed on their property.

Following this simple list of things to avoid and those posted last time in "Wine Tasting Etiquette - Things to Do" will ensure that your visit is pleasurable for you, those working at the winery, and your fellow wine tasters.  There's no better way to learn about the world of wines than to get out into wine country and visit the wonderful wineries they have to offer. Cheers!