Updated: Sep 13, 2022
Are you going to explore the world of fine wines and explore vineyards for the first time? You could not have chosen a better way to spend your vacation!
However, like any great traveler, it is your job to do your homework, and know what to do and what to avoid. Let’s get started by looking at some of the common mistakes first-time wine tourists end up making…and how you can avoid them.
1. You Ask For “Only The Best Wine”
It’s one thing to sample a particular variety of wine, but to ask for the “good” or “best” stuff is a tad obnoxious. It implies that you believe the rest of the winery’s blends are not good enough before you even have the chance to sample them.
If you are actually purchasing the wine, you can ask the owners to bring out the bottles not normally served to wine tasting guests. Otherwise, be open to trying new samples; you never know, that particular kind of Cabernet may turn out be your next favorite thing!
2. You Refuse A Sample
More on the matter of sampling wines: try not to turn down something you don’t normally like. The Californian wines, such as those produced in Santa Ynez, are often quite varied in depth and flavor, and are different from your local wine store’s blends. Don’t miss out the unconventional flavors. Be open to suggestions and samples, since a wine tasting is about trying wines.
3. You Spit Out All The Wine
Spitting out wine, or discarding it, is a conventional part of wine tastings. However, wine is meant to be both tasted and enjoyed, so how are you doing the latter if you are not consuming any of the stuff you taste?
Take a small sip, take your time to swivel it around your mouth to get to know the flavors better, and swallow it. You can discard the rest if you want, but consume some, if not all, of the wines you sample.
4. You Never Spit Out Wine
When you are visiting 2-3 wineries on your tour— in which each winery has a tasting menu of 4-5 wines— you will have a lot of samples to try. It won’t be long before you feel too light-headed to enjoy the entire tour if you don’t discard enough wine on your first stop.
Furthermore, if you are worried about seeming rude or unsophisticated by spitting the wine, don’t. The winery’s owner/staff are not offended by this practice, as it is a norm in wine tastings. In fact, this is why the spittoons are there, so that you can have your wine, enjoy it, discard it, and move on to the next one.
5. You Try Too Hard To Impress
It is not uncommon to feel a bit daunted by the number of people surrounding you, presenting their own views on a certain sample. Complex wine lingo does not always make you seem like the expert, nor does it help you truly enjoy the wine.
Skip out on the fancy jargon, take your time to sample your wine, and then express what you really think about it. Keep it simple, and just enjoy!
6. You Don’t Tip Your Attending
Going to sample wines in a tasting room is similar to eating out at a restaurant. You pay for the wine tasting…and you tip the people serving you. Most of the winery staff works hard to make wine tasting an enjoyable experience for you by pouring wines as soon as you need a new sample, answering your questions, as well as helping with other winery affairs, especially if the winery is a smaller, family-owned establishment.
$5 to $10 is the standard. If you have a great time at the winery, you can leave a review on their website, or on any public review forums to help them boost their business.
7. You’re Driving Yourself
Never ever drive to a wine tasting, it’s incredibly dangerous to drive yourself and others with you in a lightheaded state. A smart move would be to hire a chauffeur, or better yet, go with a wine tour service that offers comfortable transportation.
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