Wine Tours & Tastings: What to Expect

This is a sponsored post in a series about wine!

Whether it’s at a historic vineyard in Napa Valley or a private residence in your neighbourhood, a wine tasting is an opportunity to wake up your palate and engage all of your senses. While it is possible to get intoxicated, the purpose of a wine tasting is not to get impaired, but to appreciate the selection of wine offered. To that end, there are some rules you will want to follow when attending your first wine tasting:

1. Pace yourself

Begin by learning which wines are offered. The wines may be listed when you first enter, or you may need to walk around. Get familiar with the wines available before you begin tasting so that you can plan accordingly and pace yourself.

At a large wine tasting, it may not be possible to sample every wine on-hand, so seeing the options first will help you narrow down your selection.

2. Pick and choose

Typically, you will want to start with white wines first followed by reds and dessert wines. If you aren’t fond of a particular type of wine, it’s perfectly okay to skip those wines. Your host will not be offended.

If you have your eye on a Meritage set up next to a Petite Sirah you know you can’t stand, don’t feel obligated to taste the wines in order down the line.

3. Rinse your glass

You will definitely want to rinse your glass when switching from white to red, but you may want to rinse your glass after every pour. How often you rinse your glass is up to you, but you should rinse your glass and your mouth every so often to avoid the flavors getting too muddled.

Wine tasting experience

Good times ahead

Besides water, you may also find plain crackers at each station to help cleanse your palate between pours.

4. Don’t feel obligated to drink every drop

You’re at a wine tasting, not a wine chugging. If you know how you feel within a few sips, you don’t need to continue drinking the wine unless you enjoy it.

Customarily, you should not ask for a second taste. You may make an exception to this rule if you are making a purchase.

5. Mingle with the guests

A wine tasting is a social event, so expect others to speak to you. Avoid being snobby about selections, and keep in mind that the wine you would never touch again may be someone else’s favorite.

6. Be prepared for marketing

The point of a wine tasting is typically to generate sales, so don’t be surprised if the sponsoring wine club asks you for support. Some wine tastings will require you to pay at each station while others will charge you a flat fee at the door. Research the event beforehand to know what you’re getting into.

7. Drink responsibly

While you aren’t at a wine tasting to get drunk, drinking too much wine may leave you inebriated. Have a designated driver or a cab available, and give yourself some time to sober up before leaving the wine tasting.

Your Turn to Share Tips:

What are some of your tips to help enjoy a wine tasting experience?

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  • samorain

    Great article! One of the things I also look for is the alcohol content. The way I evaluate it is when I exhale after I swallow. If I feel a bit of a “sting”, it’s usually due to higher than expected alcohol content. The sting may also be noticeable in your nose when you first smell the wine, as well. Something to watch for when you’re at a winery drinking LOTS of different wines.

    Cheers! For wine testing.


  • tina

    Great point, samorain! I always pay attention to the sting when I’m trying out a new wine. Mm, this article is making me want to head to wine country and find a new favorite Pinot! 🙂


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