Tips on Wine Tasting Etiquette

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From wine tasting to your wine racks at home — be sure to buy wine at a wine tasting.

The most important tip for wine tasting is to choose a venue where you love the wine and want bottles of it stored on your wine racks at home. Not only could your wine purchase result in the wine tasting fee being waived, but you are likely to enjoy the entire experience more. In some countries, going to wine tastings is commonplace. For millions of people in the U.S. who aren’t in the wine industry, however, wine tasting is new territory. The following are some tips for proper etiquette and getting the most enjoyment out of a wine tasting.

Etiquette Don’ts for a Wine Tasting

If you are interested in avoiding poor wine tasting etiquette, the following are common gaffes to avoid:

  • Do not wear fragrance. The scent of wine is an essential component of the wine tasting experience. If you wear perfume or other scents of any kind, you can spoil the wine tasting for anyone within the range of your scent.
  • Don’t go into a wine tasting with pre-conceived dislikes and preferences. Taste the wine offered. You may just be surprised and discover a favorite new wine
  • Don’t engage in a high level of technical discussions on wine because you may appear to be showing off. In addition, you could one-up the employee in the room, who may be entry-level.
  • It’s not uncommon for patrons to fake being an industry professional, in the hopes of getting either special treatment or a price cut. According to the owner of one winery, home winemakers who aren’t connoisseurs frequently flash business cards and request discounts.
  • Do not ask for a taste of “the good stuff.” It’s okay, however, to enquire about any possible reserve wines. Expect an upsell, however.
  • Use moderation and definitely do not become a drunk taster.

Good Etiquette at Wine Tastings

Going for a wine tasting should be fun so try to get your mind off of strict admonitions of unacceptable behavior. Simply consider above tips on what to avoid in order to behave in a pleasantly social manner, which should ultimately enhance enjoyment of the occasion. The following are some “to do” wine tasting etiquette tips:

  • Swallow the wine if you want to. If you are planning to visit more than a few tasting rooms, however, take care not to become intoxicated.
  • Linger over the wines, if desired. Most wineries are happy to allow visitors to retry wines, as long as they aren’t getting drunk or disruptive.
  • Plan to purchase wine, whether a bottle or two or more; that’s what your wine racks at home are for.

Be sure to plan ahead so that your wine is stored properly and doesn’t get too hot on the way home. The taste of wine is negatively affected if the bottle gets too warm. With care, you may enjoy your wine just as much off of your wine rack as you did at the wine tasting.