Friday, September 9, 2016

Wine tasting etiquette

You are not a camel; therefor learn to spit
When implementing the spitting method during a tasting, I found it is best to use a paper cup and spit directly into the cup, not a mile away into the bucket they have on the table.  If there isn’t a paper cup in sight and you find yourself having to use the bucket provided, please try to get close enough to get inside but not too close that there is splash back….ewww!  Practice at home is my suggestion to get it down, better safe than sorry.

It’s always “no white after Labor Day”
 Not the time to wear your white anything; shirt, dress, slacks.  Stay on the safe side and wear dark colors to avoid any embarrassing splashes and stains.

Not a BYOB party
 Do NOT bring your own bottle, that is just poor manners. If you don’t like red and they only pour red, then you are now the designated driver.  I suggest that you keep an open mind and try the red that is poured, you just might find that you like it and have now broadened your palette.

Wine snobs leave your smoking jacket at home
Don’t attempt to stump the wine server or try to “take them down” just to impress…you’re not. Everyone around you is rolling their eyes and trying to hide to make sure others know they are not part of your group. You may be a wine expert however; you are now in someone else’s place. Please show respect, listen, learn and appreciate.

Have some French toast
Be sure to not start your day on an empty stomach.  Have a good breakfast and be sure to cleanse your palate afterwards with some water before setting out on your wine tasting.  Also make sure to partake of any food offerings that are provided along the way as well as drinking plenty of water, read my previous water blog post.

You are not on the Iron Throne ‘‘bring me some wine”

Don’t tap your glass on the bar when you want a refill. The wine tasting room attendants are very busy trying to serve and answer questions to all, please practice patience, sit back, relax and savor the moment and the wine.

Don’t try to make your own Hangover movie
Please don’t keep asking to “re-visit” several times just to get drunk on your tasting fee.  Revisiting a wine that you have tasted is truly a great thing to do if you are interested in the wine for purchase, however very poor manners if you don’t intend to purchase and you just want to chug wine on the cheap.

You are not auditioning for Coyote Ugly or Real Housewives
Wine tour bachelorette parties are a fun idea and a great experience however; please have respect, purchase wine and no bar dancing or disruptive behavior please!  Wineries have tasting rooms to showcase their wines, not your dancing skills or drama.

Purple mouth syndrome
The simple solution to avoid purple teeth and lips is to drink water and I swish it around a little.  Brushing your teeth in-between tasting and gum can affect your palette so it isn’t recommended. Brushing your teeth before you leave home works best and some people swear by wine wipes, give them a try for yourself and see.

Lipstick on the collar not on the glass
Lipstick leaves heavy film on glasses which is hard to remove, leave the lipstick off for the tasting trip.

Skip the Chanel No. 5
Your nose when tasting is an important part of the experience.  Your fragrance can affect you and others around you so please keep it off for tastings.

Making friends

When at tasting event, get your wine and then step aside if there is a line behind you. Allow the line to go down then ask the server your questions and get the next pour offered.  I have been to some events when there is someone in front telling their life story, tasting all the wines, oblivious to others behind. Do not hold up the line for all of questions or to taste all the flights offered, be courteous to the others behind you.  I get my wine, go back later once the rush is over and then I have more time to talk to the server about the wine and re-visit if needed, which they love to do for the wine enthusiast.

Plan Ahead
If you have a large group plan ahead by calling the wine tasting room to let them know you are coming.  Do not just show up 5 minutes before closing hours. Be sure to note all the of the winery’s hours before you start your trip, some open early and close early.

Take Note
Write it down, or better yet I take pictures of the bottle labels.  If you are tasting several wines in a day this is the best way to remember what you have tried. If the event or wine tasting room gives out tasting notes, then use this to add comments or I use a 3-star system to simplify what I like or no stars if I don’t.  Circle tasting notes you are getting or write your own tasting notes, I also enjoy writing down the food I would love to pair with the wine.

There are good days and some bad days
 Most tasting rooms and events have amazing servers that have so much knowledge and love what they do.  Once in a while I have run into servers who don’t know anything about the wine, care to be there or talk to you…these are usually at events they have to assign a volunteer to help out at.  Don’t let this turn you off from the wine or the winery, if you go visit the winery again let them know politely of your previous experience so they are aware, to make corrections in the future.

Remember, always make sure you have ID no matter your age and please don’t give the wine attendant a hard time for asking.

If visiting several wineries… plan your tasting trip for your palate; sparkling wines first, whites, then richer whites then reds.