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Wine Tasting Etiquettes: What And What Not To Do

Updated: Sep 17, 2022

Like rules in formal dining, there are rules in formal wining—more specifically a wine tasting. Wine, like art, is studied for its richness, for its history, for the talent behind its creation.

And as you would pay your respects to artwork in a museum, you do the same for wines in a tasting room.

If you are venturing out to the wineries and vineyards in South California, then you are in luck. The winemakers, owners and staff in the fine establishments there are exceedingly friendly in answering any queries for a wine novice. However, it is always great to have a basic knowledge of tastings for an enriched experience.

Keep these few tips in mind:

Avoid Heavily Scented Perfumes/Colognes

Heavy fragrances can interfere with the varied aroma of wines you will taste, and since the aroma of a wine makes up a considerable part of its overall effect, it is wise to avoid wearing a fragrance that overwhelms your senses and keeps you from enjoying the blend


Taste The Wines In The Right Order

Unless the winery itself has laid out the order of tasting for you, consider these orders (first to last):

  1. Taste the sparkling wines first, followed by the reds, and finally the dessert.

  2. Taste the dry varieties first, and end with the sweetest.

  3. Taste the young blends prior to the old and vintage brews.

It is important you observe the “personality” of the wine, as sampling the old/sweet/strong blends first will likely take over the flavors of lighter wines that come after.

Follow The ‘S’s Of Wine Tasting

To observe and display the right practice of sampling the blend in your wine glass, appreciate a wine by the right order of the ‘S’s:

  1. See & Swirl: Observe the characteristics of the wine`, and swirl it around the glass to see how it clings to the glass walls.

  2. Employ your sense of smell to take in the aroma of the blend, as the practice serves to enhance the taste of the wine.

  3. Sip & Swish: The full complexity of a wine is best revealed when the liquid mingles with oxygen.

  4. Swallow (or Spit): You can either sample the wine completely, or use a spittoon to discard it (it may feel weird, but it is customary in tastings).

Note: Don’t forget to cleanse your palate, both before and in between tasting the wines! Have a sip of water, or sample a piece of cheese, or any other pairing. Otherwise, the flavors will overlap and confuse your taste buds.

Express Your Experience

Don’t hesitate to describe the flavors of the wine, even if your description differs from others’. Each person has a distinct palate—the aromas and flavors of the wine will be experienced in varied manners.

Looking for a wine tasting adventure? You’re going to love our wine tours!

At Artisan Excursion, we offer wine tastings around the finest wineries in Solvang and other parts of the Santa Ynez Valley. Give us a call at 805.734.7565, and let us give you a wine tour you won’t forget!

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