If you’ve just planned an upcoming wine tasting, you may not be sure what to do. The idea may seem clear – you show up at a winery, sample various wines and mingle with others – but you may find yourself wondering about wine tasting etiquette as the date inches closer. Don’t worry, we have the dos and don’ts of wine tastings that will get you through your first of many wine tours.
In Napa Valley, the majority of wineries are open to the public, seven days a week. Still, it’s a good idea to call ahead and make sure that the winery can accommodate you during your stay, as some wineries are only open on the weekends or have limited hours. Wineries may also have rules about bringing along kids, large groups or limousines and tour buses.
Dressing casual yet sophisticated is best for winery tours. You want to be comfortable, as you’ll be walking around and probably going to several wineries in a day. But, you also want to look nice, as this is showing respect for the winery. Also pay attention to the weather, as sturdy shoes, umbrellas, sunscreen and sunglasses may be necessary. Also, lay low on strong perfumes and colognes since these can interfere with aromas and notes from the wine.
Wine tours are all about having fun, but there are things you can do to maximize the wine tasting experience. Set your glass down on a flat surface and swirl around the wine while holding the stem. Hold the wine glass at the stem rather than the bowl. This avoids fingerprints on the bowl, and keeps the wine at the right temperature. Inhale before taking a sip, and drink white and lighter wines before the dark, red wines. Sweet wines should be reserved for last.
Amount of Wine
You’re at a wine tasting, not a bar, so it’s polite to watch the quantity of wine you drink. Drink plenty of water and stop for lunch to break up a day of drinking if you’ll be touring multiple wineries. Generally, wineries pour one-ounce samples, and there are four to six ounces in a typical wine glass. Purchasing a bottle of wine from the winery is a kind gesture that will keep the memories going.