How to Do a Wine Tasting the Right Way

March 14, 2019

Just like how non-gamers wouldn’t know the first thing about what goes on in a Fortnite game, the majority of us are not privy to wine tasting room etiquette.  

Wine tasting can seem like a whole lot of uncharted territory for someone who’s never been to one. But wine is something that should be enjoyed and is a fun learning experience. If you’re a first timer, keep reading for tips on how to do a wine tasting the right way—and get the most out of your time as you prepare for the Down and Derby Wine Festival on May 4th at Cooper River Park!

Prior to the wine tasting make sure you:

Nix the perfume/aftershave. The extra scents detract from the taste and flavors of the wine you’re trying not only for you but for those near you!

Avoid coffee and gum beforehand. The strong flavors of both could be lasting and hinder your ability to taste the full flavors of the wines you’re trying.

Eat beforehand. Wine is alcohol and everyone knows the cardinal rule for drinking—that it should never be done on an empty stomach. They’ll only have some crackers as palette cleansers at the wine tastings so make sure to come well prepared!

During the wine tasting:

Know the proper way to taste wine. Check out the wine in your glass and take note of its color. Be specific. Hold the wine glass by the stem and not the bowl so that your fingers don’t change the temperature of the wine. Swirl the wine around so that the aromas are more intense. Put your nose up to the glass to smell the wine. What is the aroma? What kinds of fruits do you smell? Spices? Is it a dark fruit or a lighter one? Take a sip of the wine and make sure not to just throw it back. Savor the flavors by holding it in your mouth and feel the texture of the wine in your mouth. You can either swallow the sip or spit it out and move onto your next flight. The longer the aftertaste, the longer the finish which denotes higher quality of wine.  

Don’t be a wine know-it-all. You’re here to learn! Be open minded and ready for new wines.

Know that it’s perfectly okay to spit/dump your wine. You don’t have to drink every last drop of wine in your flight. Some wineries may have up to seven or eight glasses in a flight. Feel free to hold the flavors in your mouth and spit once you’re satisfied.

Don’t ask for the “good stuff.” Be open to trying what is recommended, but feel free to ask if there’s a reserved wine list beyond the flights being offered.

Keep reactions in check. When tasting the wines, you should be open minded, taking notes, and asking questions. You should not be making it obvious when you dislike one of their flight options and being close minded because there is one specific wine you like will only rob you of a stimulating time.

After the wine tasting:

No haggling. This isn’t a marketplace. You’re here to expand your flavor palette for wines and if you take a liking to one, you can buy it by the bottle. There should be no bargaining for a better deal when paying.

Think about tipping. Tips depends on the winery. Some wineries don’t mind, while others stick to more traditional customs and don’t accept them. Pick up on the vibe and react accordingly.

Be smart about transportation. If you and your guests haven’t arranged for a shuttle or a designated driver, make sure to be smart and safe about your ride situation! Apps like Uber and Lyft can help you get where you need to go without you worrying about your alcohol intake.

2019’s all about positive vibes and changes. Hopefully these tips on how to do a wine tasting the right way has you feeling like a true sommelier and gets you out to a vineyard to try something new!