Whether it is your first time or tenth time going on a wine tasting exploration alone or with companies, the following tips would help you get the most out of your wine tasting experience.
1. Proper Planning. If you are visiting multiple wineries, the proper planning includes calling ahead, being on time, and scheduling the meal time in (e.g. lunch, picnic). Good food keeps your body well nourished, and less stressed out over the rushing around.
Not a well-known fact, but some wineries do require reservation. Calling ahead for tasting appointments is a great idea. You will also find other pertinent information that would enhance your experience. For example, you may find out many wineries actually do not allow picnic on the ground, so you now know to make other meal arrangement. You may also discover the winery has wine caves, well, you’d want to layer on clothing because it gets cold in there.
When you allow plenty of time to arrive punctually, you and your party could get to places safely and more relaxed. Even if you’re tasting wine at just a single location (as opposed to winery hopping), being punctual is a nice consideration for your friends and host.
2. Refrain from Using Fragrant Products. You may want to skip the perfumed lotion and after-shaves, and even take down the air refresher from the car for the day. This is to prevent the olfactory nerves – yours and others around you – from being overwhelmed and missing the more subtle aromas in the wine. The lovely aromatic experience is a major component of a pleasant wine tasting!
3. Responsible Drinking. You will thank yourself for having paced yourself with water, breaks in between stops, and most importantly, by not finishing every and all the wine in the glass. Not only would you save your reputation, but also you would enjoy the day so much better. It’s not about wine drinking, but wine tasting, to explore varieties of wines, the styles, the terroir expression, the beautiful surroundings of the winery. You and your party may even consider having a designated driver or hiring a professional driver. It’s also a great idea to keep hydrated, and have snack food at hand.
4. Keep an Open Mind. You may think you like only Californian wines, or only red wines, or white wines. Well, you might be surprised to discover a new palate experience! In addition, you may never have bought a $ 35 bottle wine until after you learned about the hand harvest (hand-picking grapes as opposed to machine harvest), the expensive oak barrels (not oak chips in the barrels), the attention to details and efforts in the cellar, and the procedures involved to produce a fine quality wine. Perhaps after you’ve tasted the lovely wine, you’d re-think how it’s really worth the value! Perhaps not. Regardless, you’ll have more fun when you taste with curiosity and an open mind.
5. Ask Wine Questions. The appreciation of wine is a learning process. Wine tasting hosts likely have heard it all. Don’t be shy about asking possibly “dumb” questions. Isn’t it better that you take away some useful wine knowledge than none at end of the day? Over time, you’d get to share what you know about wine with family & friends.
6. Leave Tips. If you had a great time, tipping your winery host (winery visits) and your tasting host (single location tasting) would be much appreciated. As much as the glamor may be surrounding the job at a winery, these often well-trained professionals have a slow and long climb to a few better paid position within the winery. Tips encourage them to continue the great work.
7. Courtesy Goes a Long Way. At times, the popular wineries do get crowded. Your consideration of others’ need would naturally invite good will and convenience for yourself. Just by drinking wine, or even knowing about wine does not make a person cultured or civilized. It is the person’s manner and authenticity that others truly respect and appreciate. Wine tasting etiquette also includes child care. If you must bring children with you, please have an adult being the nanny of the day. This way, the rest of the group could enjoy the grown-ups-only wine tasting and have a great time. It is not the kids’ fault that they have shorter attention span. Nor is it the other guests’ fault or the tasting host’s fault, so please do not punish them with the distraction of the kids playing, crying, shouting and your hushing the kids…,etc.
When you go on a wine tasting with these tips in mind, you will have a better time at the winery or your tasting bar. These tips ensure you take care of yourself and your companions better, have better communications and thus relationships with the staff at these locations. The result is that as a welcomed customer, you will experience much better visit.