Wine tasting etiquette and tips – Lessons from a newbie

Working in the industry has taught me a lot, not only as part of the industry but as a consumer of wine. I work in a tasting room, so I’ve learned a little more about how to act when I’m on the other side of the bar. Here are some initial impressions that I keep in mind when I go wine tasting:

  1. Don’t walk in to the tasting room 10 minutes before closing time and stay an hour after. The people who work in tasting rooms are happy to have you, but would also like to get home at a decent hour.
  2. Take your time and taste the wine. Winemakers create it as an art; to be enjoyed, not to get inebriated on.
  3. If you like something, buy a bottle.
  4. Don’t get drunk. Please don’t get drunk. It’s against the law to serve alcohol to visibly intoxicated people, and makes everything much more awkward. Dump, spit, drink something or eat something, just don’t get drunk (all wine tastes good when you’re drunk).
  5. If you are bringing a large group, call ahead and make an appointment. It won’t be an enjoyable experience for anyone if you get in there with 20 people, there are another five couples who wandered in on the same day, and the lone employee is overwhelmed and cannot serve you all.
  6. Don’t smoke.
  7. Don’t ask for second pours unless you plan to buy something.
  8. Look at the wine as you drink it; it helps you focus on the taste and aroma instead of surrounding stimulants (such as your friends or the weather outside).
  9. If you can’t smell anything after smelling too many wines, smell your clothes to reset your nose. Just put your face into the crook of your arm and inhale as deep as you can.
  10. Be patient and pleasant to talk to. It’s an enjoyable experience.

I will probably pick up more tidbits to keep in mind as I go wine tasting throughout my life, but that’s it for now. Cheers!


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