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We understand that visiting a winery for the first time in a while, or even your first time ever, can be a little intimidating and overwhelming. This week we thought, as things are starting to open up again, that we would shed some light on proper wine tasting etiquette.
Share the experience with others
Whether you venture out with a group or make it a romantic experience for two, wine tasting is best enjoyed shared. Not only can you discuss the wine together and create fond memories to look back on, but drinking amongst company is always more entertaining.
Create an itinerary
While there’s no pressure to stick to an itinerary like your life depends on it, we guarantee having a rough idea or loose plan will save you time, stress and floundering about between wineries. If you’re in the region for a week or so you may want to space your winery visits out more sparingly than you would if you only have a day or so, but planning ahead will ensure you get the most out of your experience. Booking a bus or arranging transport to get you from place to place is also a must, you don’t want to be left stranded!
Listen and make conversation with the winemaker / sommelier
Being attentive and listening to the pourers and experts will allow you to learn a lot about the wine you’re tasting. Even if you’re only visiting on a whim, engaging and asking questions about the wine will not only stimulate the conversation but will encourage you to create a connection by learning about the history, story and winemaking process behind the bottle. If you have any questions in regards to what you’re sipping on, the sommelier is your go-to for all the information you need.
Enjoy and take your time when tasting - swirl, sniff, and breathe in those aromas
You’re there to taste and enjoy the various flavours and nuances that the tastings have to offer, so make sure you take your time to really get the most out of each drop. First swirl the wine, this will release its scent and aromas for you to sniff before you taste. Common descriptions you may hear to characterise the wine include; acidic, earthy, crisp, dry, fruity, oaky and hundreds more. Open your senses and keep in mind what the server is saying, yet if you don’t smell or taste exactly what they are suggesting don’t get disheartened as flavour profiles are often based on personal perception.
When wine tasting it can be easy to get carried away, so it’s important that you pace yourself and make sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day’s activities. When you overindulge your senses become muted and you’ll miss out on the complex notes of the wine. Keep in mind there is a spitting bucket that will sit at the table that you can use as you desire - but if you can’t bear to spit out the tasty wines, then stay hydrated and nourish yourself with the food the region has to offer. And remember not to gulp your glass of wine down in one go and ask for refills, as this could be considered offensive.
Corny but ever so relevant, the main thing to remember when wine tasting is to enjoy yourself. Some people can take the experience very seriously but remember, at the end of the day you’re there to sip wine, so have fun with it! Dress up, drink up and open yourself up to learning about the wine and the history.
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