Wine drinking and wine tasting has come a long way. The more wine aficionados travel around various countries known for their wines, the more we get to know about the good and bad of wining.
First-time wine tourists often find themselves lost, regarding wine tasting—the style of sniffing, the flavors, talking to and tipping servers, and more. If you’re days away from your first wine tastings, you’re in luck—because here are the most common wine tasting FAQs we’ve come across during our tours with our guests.
Let’s take a look…
Q: Should I swallow or spit the wine? Isn’t it rude if I spit it out?
The swallow/spit decision is up to you. Ideally, you should swallow the bit of wine, as consumption is one of the primary factors of truly getting to experience a wine. However, a typical wine tour often involves wine tastings at more than a couple of wineries and vineyards, each of which offer at least 4-5 tastings each, which means you’ll want to watch the amount of wine you swallow.
That said, don’t hesitate to spit. Spitting is a traditional part of wine tastings, and your hosts will not be offended if you choose not consume every wine you taste.
Q: I want to taste only red/white/a particular type of wine. Should I ask for it?
Most wine country tasting rooms have a particular type of tasting menu, comprising of blends which are specialties of their winemakers. Let’s say you want to sample certain varieties of Grenache, in which case you’ll have to plan your wine tasting accordingly. Check a winery’s website to find out which wines they specialize in.
Tip: Try and step out of your comfort bubble and dare to try new wines at wine tastings. These events are about appreciating wines, and who knows, you like that new red after all!
Q: Should I tip my servers even if I have already paid my wine tasting fee?
You pay a tip to your waiter even if you have paid for you food, and wine tastings work along the same lines—it’s a matter of courtesy. Whether or not you tip and how much you tip is up to you, but we’d recommend tipping your servers well, especially if they’ve been extra attentive to you.
Q: What should I wear/ what is the proper attire for a wine tasting?
Most wine country wine tastings are not as formal as restaurant wine tastings. Semi-formal attire works, though make sure to include elements of comfort in your apparel. Trying steering clear of heels and uncomfortable shoes—you’ll be spending a considerable amount of time on your feet.
Also avoid heavy makeup and fragrances/colognes. Too many layers of lipstick and you’ll find yourself handling a goopy-rimmed glass. Heavy perfumes can make it difficult for you and others around you to get a feel of the wines’ aromas, and sniffing is as significant aspect of consuming wine as tasting.
Q: How do you manage wine tastings so that you can stay sober enough to drive back?
First off, make sure you have a reasonable intake of food and water before you leave for a wine tasting tour. Tasting rooms offer a variety of snacks such as cheese, break, nuts and other things with wine tastings, which not only helps you clear your palette, but lowers the hazing effects of alcohol. Make sure to balance your wines with your snacks.
Finally, don’t drive yourself! Wine tours are supposed to be about enjoying yourself, which is why a transport service is ideal for a delightful and safe wine tour. If you choose a wine tour service with transportation facilities included, even better!
We offer a red-carpet wine tasting experience in our guided wine tour packages, so that you can get the most out of what you pay, and have an unforgettable time in the Santa Ynez wine county!
Reach out to us to learn more about wine tastings, or book a wine tour today.