Monday, August 8, 2011

Wine Tasting Tips - Tasting Room

This is the second part of wine tasting tips series. See first part for logistics of wine tasting trip.

  1. Ask questions. It's ok and actually encouraged to ask host questions about wine, wine making, winery, wine maker, etc. If host is too busy or not engaging you can just leave him/her alone but more than often you find yourself learning new things. Good questions may score you extra pour of some more expensive or rare wine or even tasting fee waived. But really don’t approach this from the end of it: you are not asking questions to pay less or drink more after all.
  2. Wine tasting is a social event. It's ok to talk to other guests but be polite: know when to start and when to stop.
  3. Share a glass. Couples can share single tasting so if you feel comfortable to share then do so. Do not hesitate to let host know that you will share and they gladly pour you a single glass.
  4. Rinse your glass when tasting wine especially when going from one type to another: from dry to sweet or from white to red. Some hosts will rinse your glass with few drops of wine you are about to taste - this is even better.
  5. Wineries are usually pet friendly. I am sure there are exceptions but wine dogs are so common in Sonoma that I often see friendly and adorable dog before seeing tasting counter. This is one type of entertainment you can count on when you visit with kids.
  6. You liked the winery – ask about a tour or private tasting. You may receive improvised tour or schedule one for later. It all depends how busy winery is and if they have qualified stuff. They always want you to leave loving their wine and what could be better than knowing where it came from and how it is made.
  7. Tasting fee is ok, but still charging it if you bought their wine is not. Most wineries waive their fee if you buy a bottle of wine. If they won’t waive it for me then I would pay the fee and leave without their wine even if I like it.
  8. Free tasting doesn’t mean you have to buy their wine. But it's highly recommended to buy wine if you liked it. In my view, free tasting is a sign of healthy wine industry so let’s help to keep it going.
  9. Prefer buying wines that are available only at the winery. It just makes sense: you won’t find them elsewhere. Often they are small production and/or special editions worth having.
  10. Compliment your host. You tasted the wine, are you ready to leave. Always compliment your host for the service and wine verbally. But I’ve never seen tipping for wine tasting at the wineries.
  11. Revisit wines that you liked or interested in. Ask your host to taste the wines you liked or thinking to buy. You may have different impression from them after trying everything else.
  12. Winery picnic – winery wine.This is just the way it is. Buying it on a spot or bringing a bottle with you is both good: it’s their wine and it’s all that matters. If you buy then let them know that you intend to drink it here and they pick you one from a cooler (white or rosé).

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