Have You Ever Been the Victim of An Offensive Air of Self-Satisfied Superiority?



In the past few months I have received loads of emails from those of you who have had horrendous experiences in winery tasting rooms.

The turmoil told in these tales seems to stem from two situations, the arrogance of the tasting staff or the inexperience of the taster.

Yes, I've had the stories where tasters unknowingly poured themselves a glass of wine from the spittoon.  These folks admitted they were unschooled in the virtues of tasting room 101, if that so existed, and assumed it was a serve yourself situation.  When I spoke to them further, they were ashamed and embarrassed about their mistake but also complained about the inattentiveness of the winery staff who seemed to snub them for customers more proficient in wine speak.

I can't tell you how sad and angry this makes me.


I have absolutely no tolerance for wine snobs at winery tasting rooms (or anywhere really).  I can't put my finger on what their function in this type of setting might be.  To make the brand appear more exclusive?  Sorry but, bull-crappity-crap.

I could never have anyone work for me who has a chip on their shoulder in the tasting room, shunning away those who are actively trying to educate themselves about wine.  

I have tried to comfort and soothe these bruised egos (and there are lots of you) with the knowledge that wine snobs serve a very special function.  It usually involves browbeating the unsuspecting wine novice with information, making wine appreciation seem unattainable.  They fill your head with useless details you do not need to memorize when just discovering wine.  I mean as a beginner, you do not need to know pH and Tartaric Acid statistics.  That information is about as important as stamp-collecting at this point.  It's NOT NECESSARY!

In all honesty most wines are drinkable at the time of release and do not require lots of discussion about their characteristics.  However, there are those wines that are carefully crafted and manipulated and deserve greater appreciation for the art that went into making them. 

When you are ready, find someone who has studied the science and art of winemaking or who has practiced or developed the ability to distinguish between lots of different wines and their characteristics.  These people are legitimate sources of information when it comes to wine knowledge. 


Let me also say, over the years, I have met oodles of tasting room staff who are accommodating and wonderful sources of information.  They are passionate, helpful and thoughtful in the techniques used to convey information to those of you who feel a little less secure speaking about this very complicated beverage.

Yes, wine is a complicated subject!  Let's face it, it's not rocket science but it's not an intuitive topic either.

One of the reasons wine tasting is so enjoyable has to do with its multi-sensory appeal.  However, this also makes it more confusing; sensory overload in a way.

All at once you are examining the wine's color, deeply smelling its aromas as you agitate the molecules by swirling the wine in your glass, tasting the flavors.  Maybe it's pushing it a little but even touch comes into play when feeling the wine in your mouth.

So I wanted to give a simple but brief overview about some Do's and Dont's in a tasting room.  My hope is to help some of you with bad experiences get back in the saddle with the confidence to try again.

These are uncomplicated suggestions that may help make your next trip to a winery more enjoyable.


Do's and Don'ts In The Tasting Room

This might sound silly but as you are getting ready to receive your pour from the wait staff, DO hold your glass steady for the server.  I have seen people move their glass all around the bar as the server tries desperately to make the pour only to have it splash all over the table.  This annoys everyone and starts you out on the wrong foot.

When you finally get your wine, DO swirl it vigorously in the glass.  This aerates the wine, helping to communicate and express what you will find in the glass.  You might not be able to pick out exact fruit aromas like raspberry, cherry, peaches and honeydew; that takes time and practice.  But I bet you could distinguish aromas like red or dark fruit, melon and stone fruit nuances.  Test yourself and ask the people you are with what they think.  It makes the experience more interesting and you will get more out of it.

DO get to know your wine by sticking your nose way down into the glass.  Don't be embarrassed.  The bigger your nose the better at this point.

The spittoon, DO use it.  You will not offend anyone in the tasting room by spitting out wine.  No one expects you to drink everything.  And as far as the act of spitting goes, if you try to let the wine dribble out, you will be in trouble.  Aim and fire away. 

DO learn what you like and try to express it, you'll end up getting what you want more often.

If you get what you consider exceptional treatment at a winery, DO buy something.  It shows you were appreciative of their time and effort.


Natural lips are better.  DON'T apply thick layers of lipstick before going into the tasting room.  This will surely interfere with the wine, not to mention muck up the glasses.

DON'T wear perfume or cologne, you won't be able to smell anything else.

If you go to lunch in between visiting a few wineries, DON'T have a spicy meal and skip the after meal mint.  These types of foods will interfere with your palate's ability to distinguish between flavors, making some wines taste bad or flat.

The only way you will learn is to ask lots of questions.  DON'T be intimidated.  I would say MOST people love to talk about their wines, it's what they do best.  There are no stupid questions.  DON'T pretend to be versed in things you know nothing about, this will only get you into trouble.

Most importantly, DON'T drink and drive.  Always try to have a designated driver. 


So, has anyone ever had a bad experience at a tasting room?  Or a good one they'd like to share?

Come see me at the Noble Pig Tasting Room, we'd love to show how it's done.

Post a Comment

68 Comments

  1. HoneyB 1

    First of all – loving the pictures!

    I have never been to a wine tasting but would love to! Maybe I can convince Grumpy to go when I find a place nearby we could go to. Thank you so much for the tips, they are awesome to have for future reference!

    Reply
  2. Thank you! That was very helpful and informative. Living here in New England I only get to visit wineries when I go west – so, long periods in between. When I lived in the Bay Area I used to go up to Napa a lot but those are just fond memories now.

    One of my favorite Oregon wineries is Willamette Valley Vineyards. But I never find anything of theirs back here.

    Reply
  3. Amanda 3

    Love the pictures. Beautiful. Hubby and I tend to go wine tasting at smaller local wineries up here in El Dorado and Amador. Lots of great local wine makers who are friendly and down to earth. Also prefer Sonoma over Napa and have found some great smaller wineries in that direction as well. My favorite local wine is currently Sogno. link to sognowinery.com They have lots of great wines. (no I dont work for them, just an avid drinker. )

    Reply
  4. This is a fantastic post!

    I learned so much.

    And arrogance is a trait I can’t stand anywhere, ever. Makes my skin crawl.

    Reply
  5. Teri 5

    Over the years of going to wineries I don’t think I’ve ever had a truly bad experience, I feel enormously grateful for that. The best wine tasting/tour I ever had was with a guy who was a member of Toastmasters and took the time to explain to us the different flavors and sensations in the wine. We went to this same place a couple of weeks ago and while things have changed the tour is still good, they’re importing more wines from Chile and France adding to their own unique style for wine.
    Thanks for the added tips about using the spittoon, not moving the glass around and asking questions.

    Teri
    an eagerly learning wine novice

    Reply
  6. Rachel 6

    I’ve been trying to plan a wine tasting trip for years…maybe for the 40th birthday…that’s next year, ya know! Anyhoo, would love to book a limo (safe driving)…but a little bird told me once that I would be condsidered limo trash by those arrogant wait staff! 😉

    Reply
  7. I can’t wait to come for a tasting at YOUR vinyard!!

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  8. I’ve never been to a wine tasting, being the huge wine drinker that I am:) Without the color in the pictures, my focus was more on the glasses and how they sparkled, rather than being drawn to the red of the wine (which my eye would have been had the color been there). A new and interesting way to look at the pictures.

    Reply
  9. I definitely wish I knew more about wine because I would love to do some wine tasting but I have no idea what I wold be looking for in the experience. I need to do some more research!

    Reply
  10. Barbie with a T 10

    I forget who said it, but the quote goes like this….It is better to be quiet and listen to avoid showing your ignorance than it is to speak out and remove all doubt! I have pretty much lived by this rule of thumb, and now that I am older I am beginning to open up a bit. Thank you for letting me know what NOT to say and do at wine tasting events so as not to show my ignorance! I am glad you are teaching the real “basics” to us out here who know absolutely nothing about the art. It proves that you are a very thoughtful and considerate person. Thank you so much.

    Reply
  11. Mike 11

    lol, at first, I was worried about this post since my feed reader truncated the title to “Have You Ever Been the Victim of An Offensive Air?”

    I generally haven’t had terrible experiences, but I guess I’ve been able to fake my way through it so far. I definitely enjoy hearing the stories though and hate when people try to make wine an unapproachable, scary subject…

    Reply
  12. It’s a good thing I don’t drink wine…because I’d be LOST! That seems so complicated! Give me a big iced tea so I can chug it without any worries about if/what I am doing wrong!! HEHE

    Reply
  13. Ahhh…California, and its multitudes of winery tasting rooms. I am quite envious. Sadly NYC does not have a ton of tasting rooms.

    That said I do get to wine bars as frequently as possible. And while some of the “DO’s & dont’s” DO change a bit, many of them overlap.

    And yes, I have had amazing, warm servers (like at the wine bar I went to last night) as well as some horrendously pretentious servers.

    We really need to rid the normal world of the latter to help remove any intimidation that wine newbies feel. After all, we were all wine newbies at one point or another.

    Great list of Do’s & Don’ts!

    Reply
  14. Julena Jo 14

    Aren’t wine tastings offered everywhere? Even Ohio (my state) has wineries and tastings. And if there are no nearby wineries, don’t wine sellers offer them?
    I know nothing about wine except that I like it on the sweetish side. :)

    Reply
  15. Leah Q 15

    I have begun to read your post before I even get to my own email, blogs, hororscopes, etc. Well Done! I say!

    lol – Great wine tips – one quick questions- is there a particular direction in which we should be swirling our wine glasses in? Does that even matter?

    I recall working at a restaurant when some salesman bloke came in with a magnet offer. By placing said magnet against the glass and twirling in one direction, it literally enhanced the drink (no joshing you here) – had something to do with molecules, science…whatever – it worked for wine and liquor, making them taste finer than they actually were….

    needless to say, we did not buy these magnets, nor the bloke a drink, but I still stand here (ok I’m sitting) wondering if there is a correction direction other than asking, Please sir? May I Have Some More??

    Reply
  16. I’ve never been to a tasting room! I must do it one of these days–and knowing your tips I’ll feel a lot more comfortable! Thabk you!!

    Reply
  17. Candy 17

    What a great post.

    My husband and I vacation in Cape May, NJ every year and a few years ago a local winery opened up. I love wine, but no absolutely nothing about what’s good. I know what I like. I’m mostly a California Chardonnay girl, but I do like a red Zinfandel. Anyway, we decided to go to the winery, not really sure what we were getting into.

    I remember being shocked at how much they charged for tasting. Wouldn’t they want to give me a small taste so I’d buy something? Is it typical to charge for the taste as well?

    Still, what was most intimidating is that there were people there who were either well educated about wine or were putting on a good show for the winery staff, but they got all the attention. No one even said hello to us.

    I bought a bottle of white and a bottle of red, and paid way more than I usually do for wine. In the end I didn’t really like either all that much, and probably won’t bother going back. I wish it had been more positive, though.

    Reply
  18. Just gave this post a shout out on another blog written by a tasting room employee…

    link to behindthevines.com

    Reply
  19. I really liked the photography, most people think color is automatically superior to black and white.

    There are wineries all over New York and I’ve been given wine from Massachusetts. Some of the Hudson Valley wineries do offer tastings. They are different than the West Coast but I’m told they are good.

    About the only reds I can drink are Australian/New Zealand wines. California in the same price range give me headaches.

    But my wife just bought a small wine cooler and I plan on a larger one this fall. OK they are for hanging dry cure, but some bottles will still fit in the bottom.

    Reply
  20. I’ve had a few of the snobby tasting staffs and many more lovely ones. The best tour/tsting I ever had was at Beringer, up in Napa. It was a wonerful learning experience and I learned some really important things there. And the staff was lovely.

    Reply
  21. Max 21

    As always, a GREAT blog entry! I have been the victim of wine snobs in tasting rooms ~ shame on them!

    While I am not well versed in wine terminology (I hear the words, but I don’t get it!), I do know what I like and I am happy to purchase many bottles.

    I had a wine snob moment the other day. I was there to speak to them about my upcoming art show. I was rudely greeted by someone I had not spoken with before; she was less than nice, border-line RUDE. I tried 3 wines and picked one while waiting for my appointment. Fast forward…I ended up purchasing a few bottles and then discovered the border-line rude woman was the owner of the place. H’mmm.

    Reply
  22. Can’t get past accidentally tasting the spitoon. AAAGGGGH!

    Reply
  23. What a GREAT post !!

    I personally haven’t had bad experiences, but maybe that’s because most of mine has been in Paso and Temecula? Smaller areas maybe? Who knows.

    Cathy and I were talking about your property – when you get things going we want to come up and check it out … especially when you have your official opening. I can’t wait to see how it all plays out for you.

    :: sitting on the edge of my seat ::

    Reply
  24. Sadly, I’ve not been to many of the tastings you describe. My husband is not a lover of wine as am I. I am? (I loves me a good glass o’ wine…) I did take a six week tasting course with his father, though, and that was the best experience. It was taught in the evenings by an English teacher who organized the wines in to New World Reds and Whites. He encouraged us to not get caught up in all the jargon, instead to name what we tasted and could smell in the wine. It worked. I still encounter wine snobs in casual conversation who never hesitate to question a wine that I name as “good.” Great post — I enjoyed it!

    Reply
  25. Trisha 25

    I have something for you on my blog!

    Reply
  26. Flea 26

    You are most helpful. I’ve never been tempted to attend a wine tasting, precisely because of the stories like the ones you hear. Now, though, I’m curious and will be looking for local wineries (we have quite a few). Thank you!

    Reply
  27. You know…the whole winery snobbery bit always confused me. My hubby and I recently moved back to Texas after living in San Jose, CA, for two years. When we first moved to CA we didn’t know much about wine, except that we liked it. We were excited to visit Napa, Sonoma and the coastal wineries in hopes of learning more and defining our tastes. Our first visits had mixed reviews and what we learned was to visit the less known (non commercialized) wineries because their staff members were warmer, laid back and more helpful. One of our favorite wineries is Vincent Arroyo’s winery in Calistoga. A simple place with wine that is quite the opposite. The staff greets you with a smile in comfortable jeans with a pair of Vincent’s labradors running around at your feet. You are offered tastes straight from the barrel and you are encouraged to ask whatever questions you wish. No scrunched up noses or haughty laughter flaunted in your direction. Just friendly simple answers. It’s great! Plus the wine is amazing. They have great blends, Chardonnay and a wonderful Melange.
    Summers winery was also a nice “off the beaten path” spot with the best cabernet I have ever tasted. Wow.
    Other wineries we loved were the small wineries up the coast on the way to Mendocino. Just regular people who love wine. Much better than some of the larger wineries on the main drag of Napa. I’m not saying these larger places don’t offer quality wine, but there is something about their customer service that leaves a bad taste in your mouth so to speak.

    Reply
  28. Tara 28

    I don’t know what it is about your post about wine, but I love them. :) Thank you.
    While on a vacation last summer in Washington I visited 2 winnerys and their tasting rooms. I had a lovely experience and no complaints what so ever. The only thing I regret is not writing down everything I tried and my thoughts about it. It only took a few days and I had completely forgot the name of everything I had tried and what I liked best. So the lesson I learned is to be prepared and take a wine journal with me.

    Reply
  29. There was a great post a few months ago in the Wall Street Journal about how tastings rooms should be operated to make visitors comfortable. It’s a good complement to your post. link to online.wsj.com

    Personally I disklike the other customers in the tasting rooms who loudly pontificate on wine and try to one up the tasting room staff with their knowledge. It’s particularly funny when it’s clear the person has no idea what they are talking about! And once, at a large tasting, I had a woman dump her glass of wine on my foot as if that was an appropriate way to rid herself of the wine she didn’t want, and yes, she did it purposefully!

    Reply
  30. My grandgather, who was part owner of a wine and beer importing business in Portland, had some good philosophies about wine. He said the best restaurants make wine accessible to their patrons instead of mystifying it. He always knew the best restaurants in town by the volume of wine they purchased. Far from being a snob, he was an advocate for drinking the wine you liked vs. what was “popular”!
    Thanks for a great post about making wine and knowledge accessible instead of scary!

    Reply
  31. Egghead 31

    We have never had a bad experience in a tasting room. Of course we have only been to the Oregon wineries but all was good. Eeeww! Someone drinking from the spittoon makes the vomit kind of sit in the back of my throat. I love the photos, especially the last one of the cork.

    Reply
  32. Possibly I’m the last person in America that’s not been to a wine tasting room. Maybe I’ll wait for yours, Cathy, I know it’s going to be one heck of a good tasting room!

    If by chance I get to one before that, your pointers are wonderful for those of us lacking in tasting etiquette. Thanks!

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  33. My solution….cold, white wine from a box! :)

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  34. Philly 34

    Never been to a wine tasting.Seems to serious for me. Since I don’t get out much I would act like it’s a big ole par-tay

    #1

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  35. Cathy C 35

    I have been tasting many times especially since I freelance for a wine events company. I think what gets me most are the patrons who think they invented wine and really know nothing or the staff in the tasting room who do not even know their own products. Wine is simply fermented grape juice with romance and the best thing about wine is this is one area in your life where you are never wrong – If you like it that is all that matters.

    Kristy and I would like to make our reservation now for your tasting room!!

    Cheers
    Cathy
    http://www.wheresmydamnanswer.com
    or http://www.loosegoosewinefestival.com

    Reply
  36. bones 36

    Last year (oh by the way I’ve never posted before but love your unfair advantage apple cake) anyway, so last year I went to the only wine tasting I ever have gone to. My mom had scheduled it back in Dec ’06. So I went. Pregnant. And tried nothing. That is all. :)

    Reply
  37. I really appreciated the Dos and Donts, because I am a newbie at wine tasting and I totally think I am going to do it wrong.
    Thanks

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  38. melissa 38

    What a thoroughly informative and wonderful post. I have never been to a tasting, and your do’s and dont’s make it seem a little less intimidating or confusing.

    And down with wine snobs, just like food snobs. I think there it is a real measure of character to say “hey, I have no knowledge about XXXX and I need to learn.” Otherwise, how do you ever evolve? Anyone who doesn’t see that is a fool. Every wine/food snob started out ignorant too, you know? Jerks.

    Reply
  39. grace 39

    excellent tips.
    pouring a glass of wine out of the spittoon sounds like something i would do. embarrassed and humiliated wouldn’t even begin to cover it–throw in nauseated and defeated, too. :)

    Reply
  40. Bea 40

    Want to have an AMAZING experience in the tasting room? 4 words for you…Tricia.Parducci.Tasting.Room…

    Parducci Winery…part of the Mendocino Wine Company, is in Ukiah Ca. The ambiance is lovely, there is a wonderful variety of wine, thanks to the Mendo Wine Co., and Tricia is fantastic. Hilarious and smart as a whip concerning all things wine. Oh yeah and did I mention the breadsticks? To die for!! Made from a small local bakery in Ukiah, soft on the inside, crunchy on the outside,with a course sea salt dusting. Tricia will instruct you to rip off a hunk to cleanse the palate between pours. Whenever I need a “mini-break”, my husband and I head to Parducci for a stroll in the lavender gardens with a good pour from Tricia. Enjoy!

    Reply
  41. Liz C. 41

    I must say that I’ve only been to three different Texas vineyards over the years. Although the one located close to out lake house was owned by friends of friends and we took guests there many times. Unfortunately, we were never there for the grape picking, which I would have loved. It’s called Fall Creek and they produce some very nice but very high priced wines.

    Anyway, Thank You! This was a wonderful Beginner’s List. I learned several new things and have loved every minute of your educating me in this mysterious world of wines.

    By the way, tonight we’re having Pulled Pork Tacos with a lovely Red Diamond Merlot. I think it’s from Washington State. Since I’ve been reading you, I have become so much better about buying new quirky wines. That alone, is an education in mind and pallate.

    Reply
  42. Never been brave enough to taste in public. Maybe now, armed with your info, I may attempt it. (It’s certainly available right here in my own town.) Thanks for the info. : )

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  43. Annie 43

    We spent two days on the Shawnee Wine Trail in southern Illinois last week, visiting several of the local wineries. As a novice, I was unsure of what proper etiquette entailed, but my husband and I were treated warmly at all but one of the vineyards we went to (6 total.) I noticed tip jars and put $1 in each one. (My husband doesn’t drink, but did ask questions.) Should I have put more? I tasted three or less at each one.

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  44. Cathy,

    Seriously, excellent post. I drink and taste a lot of wine. My one tip for someone new to wine drinking is simply to try to understand what you like about a wine and why. It is totally un-important what the staff likes or dislikes as it relates to your own likes and dislikes. If they insult you tell them their wine would make a nice “adult punch”. BTW, the photos are extremely cool, well done.

    –Marc

    Reply
  45. Neen 45

    Great post. I love how you both encourage folks not to take over-sophisticated crap, but to still aspire to learn more, ask more, express their opinions more. It’s such a fine balance. Do is very scientific in how he approaches wine, so he likes to ask a lot of questions and play around with words to try to express what he’s appreciating — but these efforts can seem pretentious or can intimate the folks around him because he SOUNDS smart, even if he’s making it all up. It’s hard to not be intimidating while still trying hard.

    sounds like Freshman English class. :)

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  46. Chez 46

    Thank you so very much for your Do’s and Dont’s! Much appreciated and valuable for a newbie (me) at a wine tasting. Your photos are fabulous. I enjoy your sense of humor! Thanks again!

    Reply
  47. Tipper 47

    Neat tips-Now I know what to do and what not to do if I ever go to a wine tasting.

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  48. Never knew there were wine snobs but I suppose in every area the snobs arise.

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  49. Kate 49

    Excellent. I’ve given you an award. Stop by my place to see. You rock!

    Reply
  50. umm do I dare tell you? We toured Napa Valley and I loved some of the windery’s there. Yes, we ran into some snobbery but not really, it’s just so different when they are truly welocming and friendly about questions. I found the experiences to be very educational; HOWEVER not quite educational enough considering this is the first I have laerned of the SPITOON. I am so grateful, that I am praising Jesus never to have poured anything myself. Thank you God that I am not at this moment realized I drank spit. I could have a religious experience so profound is my gratitude. I have always left a windery a bit on the jolly side.
    Since I didn’t know about the spitoon (I’m not ashamed) my solution to drinking too much was to bring a picnic and share the food. I’d pack breads and cheeses, fruits and simple things that “go” with wine. This actually got us special tastes with the servers and seemed to make a party for everyone.
    What do you think?
    Your nomination is up by the way so put something on your blog so people can vote, don’t be shy.

    Reply
  51. Alright…want to hear something CRAZY? A small-ish liquor store near us has a wine tasting one night a week. We happened to be in while they were doing it so I asked for a sample of the red wine they were offering. I did the sniff test, swirled it in the glass, put it in my mouth to taste it, and when I was done I spit it out in the spittoon. The woman who was running the tasting was so offended by my actions that she REMOVED THE SPITTOON FROM THE TABLE.

    I was shocked, I mean really shocked. It was clear to me that she had no clue what she was doing and what that spittoon was for. I immediately walked out of the store and I’ve never been back there since.

    Reply
  52. My husband and I just went to our first wine tasting. Our staff person was great, and totally unassuming in her approach. It was so fun, and I never even considered that this might not be the norm. Thanks for the insight.

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  53. Loved your tips! I’ve been on the server side of the tasting bar for many, many years in a Napa winery. Our “snob” stories are about the visitors! I once had an impatient customer serve herself from the water carafe and then berate me for the mediocre quality of our wines…she said the wine was so weak that it tasted almost like water. Then there was the customer who dumped a full spitoon on the bar, while trying to see if it had a price tag/brand name on the bottom. That was ugly! But we try to smile and remain hospitable at all times! : – ))

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  54. Rayrena 54

    My husband and I have been very lucky to have always had nice experiences. The only one that sticks in my mind was a fellow taster who clearly had NO IDEA what she was talking about.

    We were on a wine tour of Germany where we got to taste almost around 175 wines in 5 days. One tasting was a dinner at a charming Weingut (Kruger Rumpf). The husband was the wine maker, his wife ran the restaurant and she prepared courses to complete the wines he was offering. Each course had two wine pairings. We would eat, taste, eat, taste. Then he would ask for comments and preferences for the ideal pairing. This woman would always exclaim that wine A (or B) was clearly the better choice for our table to hear. My husband and I would look at other and say that we thought the other wine went better. The winemaker would then state that the wine she insisted was better was obviously not the ideal pairing.

    After that, everybody pretty much ignored her and her table was always the last to fill up during a seating. One night at dinner she actually got up between courses and started doing pushups against a wall. Yikes.

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  55. Paula 55

    I so enjoy reading your writing! I always walk away with a smile on my face. In this post, you got me with the “aim and fire away” instruction! :-) For those of us who only periodically attend wine tastings, your instructions are very helpful. I’ve never used the spittoon, although you can bet that I’ll be looking around for it at the next tasting and remembering your encouragement to aim and fire away!

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  56. Lori 56

    I’ve only been to several places in Hawaii. My favorite being one in Volcano on the Big Island. Nice people, nice wines.

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  57. barbara 57

    Great List. I’d add don’t clean your teeth before going to a wine tasting. And as one who has been a server at wine tasting events – don’t get drunk and bore the staff.

    Reply
  58. Helen 58

    Love reading your blog!

    Bully Hill in Hammondsport NY has an excellent wine tasting time! Last time I was there the man leading it had all the people around the bar chanting “Bully Hill sells Great Wine, Napa sells Auto Parts” Everyone was lauging and having a really good time and getting a good education about the wines. I give them a 10+!

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  59. Rachel 59

    I am a huge wine novice, so I love aticles like this. I read all of this stuff about tasting and smelling this fruit or that one and think to myself, “Why doesn’t anyone think the wine smells/tastes like GRAPES?” ;-D Yeah. I’m that big of a novice.

    I like to take the advice of the folks who wrote Wine for Dummies. Relax. It’s just a glass of fermented fruit juice.

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  60. Jeff 60

    I wish I knew these tips years ago when I first started enjoying wine. Would have saved me (a) many embarassments in front of people (b) help keeping me sober throughout the whole event by the end I did not care what I was drinking (aka it took me a long time to realize what the spatoon was for).

    I always love good wine but definitely people who are snobby/arrogant about it and don’t understand we all have different tastes need to go. Should be a snob hour before any wine tasting. Let them get what they want and then let us regulars have fun.

    Reply
  61. I love wine. But for some reason I have yet to go wine tasting or to a winery at all for that matter. I can’t wait to go someday soon and am bookmarking these tips because I like them. And I’ve always wanted to spit into a spitoon!

    Reply
  62. Jody 62

    I think that we were at Opus or maybe Caymus…and the girl with her boxy little Chanel eyeglasses turned her nose up at us upon entry…we left there and headed to Folie A Deux and Merryvale and spent BEAUCOUPS of $$$ on wine with people who cared to share the joys of the vine with us!!!

    I appreciate the tips…awesome…thanks

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  63. Louise 63

    The larger wineries in Napa and Sonoma have just become too much for us, crowded and impersonal. A trip to the Anderson Valley provided especially wonderful experiences at Roederer and Esterlina. Nice, gracious people at both which was all the more enjoyable without the crowds. Recently we finally visited some wineries in Livermore, which was kind of funny … a 40 minute drive from home and we were on vacation! Again, many wonderful wineries.

    The most reliable tactic we use is to stop by one of the smaller wineries and ask them to recommend other small wineries and let you know of any others that just shouldn’t be missed. This has always been a perfect vehicle for introducing us to small vintners we would have missed otherwise.

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  64. Kristen 64

    Oh wow – I LOVE all those photos!
    What great tips. Thanks for your advice!

    Reply
  65. Oh phew! I was worried you were going to say that we shouldn’t drink all of the wine poured in the glass or spit most of it out.

    Reply
  66. Nancy 66

    The liquor store in our area has a little wine tasting every Saturday afternoon. They bring in different wineries to show their wines and some of the distributors bring in selections of wines. It’s very informal, but quite educational. I especially like the ones where they share the stories behind the wines – it makes them so much more approachable. We’ve found some great wines this way and have gone back many times to purchase the ones we’ve really liked and probably wouldn’t have tried had it not been for their tastings!

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  67. LoriE 67

    I have been to 3 tastings in the past 2 weeks. One at a local winery with great staff and some very nice wines. One at a golf course with a wine club (not a member but a guest). It wasn’t bad. I got to try a couple varieties that I had never heard of and the third at a friends home with a special bottle of wine she ordered in to Canada from Italy and it was the nicest of the 3 tastings mostly because it was so generous of her to share this wine with me.

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  68. Don’t you acknowledge that it is correct time to receive the loans, which will realize your dreams.

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