02 Oct Tips for Attending a Wine Tasting
Here are some tips about the best way to approach any large wine-tasting event:
#1 Dress for the event
It’s a good idea to dress in dark colours (which helps to hide spills), avoid dangling sleeves (so you don’t cause spills) and consider the venue beforehand to ensure you have the appropriate dress code. Women should wear flats or low heels for comfort and should be sure to tie back long hair so they can spit easily, or keep a hand free to hold it back. Carrying a wineglass around means you’ll only have one hand free for holding a plate of food, shaking hands with winemakers and taking notes. If you’re going to carry anything (tasting book, notebook, smart phone or tablet), bring a bag or have deep pockets to hold it.
#2 Don’t wear perfume or cologne
Smell is a vital element of tasting. It’s near impossible to appreciate all the aromas of a delicate Riesling or Cabernet while the air is heavy with smoke, cologne or perfume. Be mindful not to introduce any unwanted aromatics to the tasting area as you don’t want to miss out on the nuances of the wines you’re trying to enjoy.
#3 Have up with a plan for the tasting
Most tastings will provide an abundance of wine, certainly more than you can realistically try in just a few hours. So come prepared with list of the producers or wines ahead of time, that way your palate doesn’t get worn out.
A basic plan usually involves browsing your way through the aisles, working from the light wines to heavier ones. It’s good practice to start with sparkling wines, then fresh whites and move on to richer whites and tannic reds.
Exposure to different wines is how you determine your likes or dislikes, learning to pinpoint the types of wine that you enjoy most is what a tasting is all about.
#4 Eat something
Tasting wines (and possibly drinking some too!) on an empty stomach is a recipe for disaster. Getting drunk quickly and not being able to enjoy the rest of the event defeats the purpose of a tasting. Remember to eat beforehand, and if there’s food offered at the tasting, take a break to eat there too. It’s a good practice to drink water in between wines which helps you to stay hydrated.
#5 Remember to spit (at least most of the time)
Although you’ll be tasting good wines, and no one likes to “waste” wine, those tasting-size pours quickly add up. To experience the most from the event, you’ll want to pace yourself by spitting wine as you go. That’s why there are buckets on every table. Unglamorous as it may be, take heart in that all the professionals do it and the winery staff are used to it. If you can’t or don’t want to finish a wine, pour out any leftover from your glass into one of the spit buckets as well.
It’s generally considered unnecessary to rinse your glass between pours, unless you’re switching between red and white or sweet and dry, or had a flawed wine. If you’re going to rinse, the best way to do that is to use a splash of wine instead of water.
#6 Take notes
You may swear you’ll remember the name of that fantastic red, or the lovely refreshing white however even if you’re spitting consistently, a couple dozen wines and a day later, you’ll be struggling to recall what you preferred most so remember to bring something to write with so you can take notes to document the wines you liked. Your method can be as simple as a plus or minus sign next to the name of the producer or the wine on the tasting sheet.
#7 Think ahead about the red-wine teeth dilemma
It’s an unfortunate side effect of wine-tasting that drinking red wine can stain your teeth. Unless you want to leave the event with a purple-tinged grin, think ahead about how you’re going to manage this. The best method is to remember to drink water and bring some chewing gum for when you’re done!
#8 Talk to the winemakers
When you know the story behind the bottle, it often makes wine more memorable. If there are winemakers and winery owners at the event, take time to talk to them. If you have questions regarding styles, grapes vintage or regions, they are a fantastic resource. Providing that you are polite and enthusiastic, they’ll be happy to answer your questions.
#9 But don’t hog the booth
If too many guests are clamouring to get a taste, don’t monopolize the table or block the spit bucket, simply take your glass and step to one side, allowing everybody a chance to engage with the winemakers.
#10 Have fun
First and foremost, remember to have fun. Although many people get very serious when they’re tasting wines, it’s ok to smile and have a good time too!
For information about custom wine cellar design and installation, you can call Signature Cellars on 02 9340 7515 or use this contact form to get in touch with us. We’ll be pleased to assist you and provide custom solutions that match your requirements.
Thanks for reading,
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