Going to your first wine tasting at a winery can be both exciting and intimidating. For those new to the industry, it can seem like expertise or even pretension is required to enter the world of wine.
But knowledge can calm any pre-tasting jitters. And tasting rooms have common etiquette that you can follow. Here, experts share tips and important aspects to keep in mind to help you step boldly up to the counter.
1. Choose the Right Location for Your Tasting Goals
Matching the right setting to your group’s expectations is one of the most important and overlooked factors to a successful tasting. Elizabeth Schneider, podcast creator and author of Wine For Normal People, encourages you to plan.
“If you’re with people who are there to slam down glasses of wine, or people who just want to sit and drink, then there are places more amenable to that,” she says. “They will be large places, massive tasting rooms where people won’t even notice.”
However, large tasting halls might not be ideal if you really want to learn about what’s in your glass.
“If you’re truly interested in learning, peel off from those people and go find one or two small producers,” says Schneider.
2. You Should Be Invited to Ask Questions
The wine industry is full of professionals passionate about their craft. The majority are hoping to introduce you to the product they’ve poured effort into, and they understand that wine comes with a language you may not know.
“You should be able to walk into a place and ask questions and not feel intimidated,” says Nicki McTague, president of The Infinite Monkey Theorem, an urban winery in Denver. “You can ask our bartenders any question. Wine was meant to be enjoyed and we want to find what tastes good to you.”