From the Tour to the Tasting Room: The Essentials of Winery Etiquette
If you love the fun and sophistication of wonderful wine, the idea of digging deeper could interest you. Regular wine tasting events could be one way to go. Often, however, these events are offered as classes that teach wine, and they tend to feel academic. Events run by wine clubs may be better, but they can feel too specialized. It can be hard to relax and have a good time.
There is another option available — taking a day trip to visit a winery. Many regions famed for their vineyards and wineries even have wine trails, which are hikes through wine country. You get to visit multiple wineries, and you emerge from the experience having gained a deeper appreciation not only of wines but also of the way they come to be what they are. Tasting wine can feel dramatically different when you know why wine tastes the way it does.
If the idea appeals, it can make sense to simply put yourself down for a trip the next day that you have free. If you would like to know how and what to do to make the best of such a trip, here is a short guide.
The Right Attitude
The first thing to keep in mind is that wine tastings at wineries are not snobbish affairs. They are fun family events, which means that you are not expected to know anything about wine, at all.
When you show up, you are welcomed, handed a helpful sheet of tasting notes, and then started on the tour and the actual tastings. All through, you only need to know that there are no rules or expectations.
All you need to do is to quietly try to learn. The experts who conduct these tours always appreciate a real, honest attitude more than actual knowledge.
Keep a Few Basic Ideas in Mind
As easy-going as you want to be at a tasting event, it is likely that you will be self-conscious. The tips below can come in handy.
- It’s mostly okay to pay only one tasting fee for a couple and share a tasting cup. Nevertheless, it’s a good idea to ask if it’s acceptable.
- You don’t need to drink your entire tasting sample each time. The idea is to taste, and not as much to drink. When you’re done with the taste, you can dump the remainder in your glass into the dump bucket.
- It’s usually a good idea to clear your palate between tastings, using bland crackers.
- You don’t have to taste everything. Instead, it’s okay to be selective about what you want to try. Nevertheless, it is a good idea to start with the white wines first, follow those with red wines, and then go on to the dessert wines.
- It is not usually considered polite to ask for a second or third tasting of a wine unless you plan to actually buy a bottle. It is always a nice gesture to buy something.
- It’s never a good idea to tip. Wine tasting events aren’t bars.
Keep a Few Practical Ideas in Mind
When people show up at wine tastings, they see the experience ahead of them as cultural. Sometimes, it’s easy to make the mistake of leaving any ID behind, for this reason. Since there is alcohol involved, however, you will always be asked for your photo ID, even if you are clearly over 21. Make sure that you have it.
While you might never go out without a spritz of perfume or at least some deodorant, anything with a fragrance is not a good idea at a tasting event. Coming in having used nothing other than fragrance-free soap and deodorant, on the other hand, will make you popular.
While people do not usually come out of wine tasting events feeling tipsy, it is known to happen, especially with those who have not spent much time around tasting events. Going in with a designated driver is always a good idea.
In the end, while you should probably leave the kids at home, you should be aware that some wineries do allow them, especially kids over twelve. While they don’t get to actually sample wines, they do get to take the tour and learn a few fun facts to file away for future use.
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Ewan Rowley enjoys the finer things in life. A connoisseur when it comes to wine, he enjoys visiting a variety of wineries around the world.