A Guide to Wine Tasting Etiquette

Whether you’re a veteran of wine tasting or you’re about to pay a visit to your first ever winery, there’s a way of making sense of the madness. With some breaking down of jargon and more advanced information, you’ll be able to make the most of any tasting. Here are a few tricks and tips to assist you in having the best tasting experience. While the number one priority should always be to have fun, these tips will help to maximise the event.

Advanced planning

You should definitely have in mind what you’re looking for before you arrive at the winery. If you’re planning on taking a self-guided tour of a particular region and wish to sample some wine tastings along the way, do a Google search on the best wines in the area.

Then you can restrict your search to only those wines you have a preference for. Map out your days so you can optimise your time in advance. Some wine regions are bigger than others, so there’s plenty of reason to implement some advanced planning.

Adhere to the tasting order

It may feel that the person providing you with wine is being demanding by insisting you drink one wine before another but there is a logic to the sequence. Winemakers invest a lot of time in organising wines for maximum results.

If you’re visiting a winery where you’ve attended a tasting on a previous occasion, stay open-minded to new wines. Many wineries provide limited-production wines that you can only sample at their tasting rooms. These wines are often esoteric. Don’t be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone and ask the staff to tell you which wines excite them the most.

When you have more than one tasting menu to choose from or a larger group of wines at a large event, quickly browse each of the menus. Ask event staff or the pourers which is the most popular wine or simply choose based on your taste. The only reason to ever skip from one wine to another would be if you didn’t have any intention of trying the tasting menu. But then that’s the whole point of going.

Drink water

Not to try and ruin all of the fun but failing to drink water at a wine tasting is never a good idea. To start with, water is a wonderful way to cleanse the palate. By staying hydrated, you will also stay more alert during the tasting. Each time you sip on a glass of wine, of course, it will only have the opposite effect.

So, by drinking water, you’ll be able to remember everything you actually enjoy about the wines rather than accidentally purchasing a bottle of something you’d never wish to taste again if your life depended on it. Water is especially important at larger-scale outdoor tastings, where such issues as dehydration and heat stroke can arise easily. This is even more true in the fall and summer in warmer wine regions.