Wine Q&A: Wine Tasting at a Winery

For some, going to a winery for a wine tasting is a bit intimidating. There are so many questions and concerns that keep people away, especially those who are new to wine and just learning. But going to a winery for a wine tasting is actually a perfect way to learn about wines.

Q: Isn't it intimidating to go to a winery if you really aren't a wine expert?

A: Far from it!  Going to a winery is a great place to learn about wine if you are just beginning. Your wine server is there to help you experience their wines and to educate you, if you are interested. You'll get an opportunity to taste a variety of wines from rosé to whites, reds and sometimes even a dessert wine. They'll help you to find the wine that's for you.

Q: Does it cost a lot to go wine tasting?

A: Wine tasting costs are varied. Sometimes you can find coupons for free wine tastings, or two-for-one tastings on-line, at your local hotel, or through other wineries. Without coupons, costs can be as little as $5 or up to $20. And, typically if you purchase wine, the tasting is free.

Q: How many wines do I get to taste?

A: Typically, a tasting at a winery will include 5 or 6 wines. But, if you show interest, or identify a particular style of wine that you like, they'll often pour others.  And, depending on the circumstances, they may also provide you with tastes of other wines not on the standard list, including some of their wines intended just for wine club members.

Q: So, how much do they pour of each wine?

A: A typical pour is approximately 1 ounce. That is sufficient to be able to have a couple of sips of each wine.

Q: I've heard they provide spit buckets for use during tasting. Do I have to spit?

A: No. The bucket on the bar is there if you choose to spit out the wine instead of swallowing it. It's also there to pour out the remaining wine in your glass if you are through tasting any particular wine.  And, don't feel bad about pouring wine in the bucket.  They won't care.

Q: Is there a lot of pressure to buy their wines after a tasting?

A: Not at all. The servers at wineries are not commissioned salespeople and do not provide any pressure. They are simply there to help you experience and learn about their wines.

Q: Am I expected to tip the server?

A: Not normally. But if you have someone that's gone above and beyond to give you a great experience at a winery, you can certainly show your appreciation by tipping.

So, go out and do a wine tasting. You'll find it to be a very friendly atmosphere and it can be a lot of fun. Cheers!