10 Wine Tasting Tips for Attending Your First Event

If you are a wine lover, then attending a wine tasting party can be one of the most fun things that you do. Are you prepared to make an appearance?

Learning a few wine tasting tips will have you ready to look, act, and feel the part while being there among fellow wine lovers. 

In this article we’ll give you some advice so you’re sure to blend in and have the time of your life.

Related: The Etiquette of Wine Tasting

How Does Wine Tasting Work?

At a classic wine tasting party, you usually are seated and served about five to seven different wines, which may be paired with different small bites to eat. 

Most events will start with sparkling wines or rosé before moving on to whites and then red wines. Some events will have dessert wines last. 

There are also some events that host a walk-around style of tasting. These events allow you to taste a wide variety of wines and, depending on the nature of the event, interact with the winemaker or member of the winery team. 

Now you’re excited and ready to go, but aren’t exactly what to do when you get there. There are certainly some wine tasting and etiquette tips that you’ll want to keep in mind as you attend the wine tasting party.  

Wine Tasting Etiquette: An Introduction

Before listing the tips, remember some basic etiquette at the wine tasting event.

Good etiquette generally dictates that you leave business cards at home. Some social events should strictly be non-business and especially at a nice wine tasting event. The people you interact with don’t want to feel that they are there to be preyed upon as potential business leads.  

Another piece of advice we often give people is to keep your phone on silent or don’t bring it in at all to the event, if possible. People enjoying the event don’t want to hear your phone going off or see you busy texting throughout the event. It shows you aren’t really interested in what is going on and that can be off putting to other guests and the host. 

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Wine Tasting Tips

If you want to have a successful time and plan for another, follow these tips to ensure you look like you belong there. 

  1. Don’t Wear Fragrance
  2. Avoid Coffee or Gum Beforehand 
  3. What to Do at a Wine Tasting: Come up With a Plan
  4. Remember to Eat
  5. And Remember to Spit
  6. Take Notes
  7. Be Inquisitive
  8. Give your opinion
  9. Prepare for Red-Wine Teeth
  10. Have Fun

Don’t Wear Fragrance

One of the most intimate and celebrated parts of a wine tasting is the ability to enjoy the smells, also known as the nose, of the wine. 

You can significantly impact the experience for yourself and other guests if you wear too much perfume or cologne. 

Avoid Coffee and Gum Beforehand

You want to avoid anything that can significantly impact your taste buds before the event.  Coffee and chewing gum can taint your palate in such a way that you cannot fully appreciate the wines that you are tasting. 

What to Do at a Wine Tasting: Come up With a Plan

If this is an event where many different wineries or winemakers will be present, the first thing you should do is find a list of the wineries and wines that will be available at the event before you enter the doors. Take the time to formulate a plan of attack. 

The amount of wine at these events is beyond what you can taste while keeping your faculties.

If you have an extremely refined palette, you can become very specific with your strategy and target the wineries and the wines that you want to try at each table.  

Get creative and enjoy the process of making your plan.

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Remember to Eat

dish on white ceramic plate

Drinking alcohol on an empty stomach is a recipe for disaster. Most wine tasting events will provide food or small bites, but if they don’t, you will want to eat or bring your own snacks to ensure you aren’t drinking on an empty stomach 

Another helpful tip is to drink one glass of water for every glass of wine you consume. This helps you prevent becoming inebriated too quickly.

Related: 10 Great Food Pairings With Wine

And Remember to Spit

It doesn’t sound classy, but even professionals have to spit into the dump buckets. You’ll be able to enjoy more wines by pacing yourself and it really only takes a little bit of wine in your mouth to get a feel for the essence of the wine. It is not considered rude or in poor taste to spit or pour out the remainder of your glass in the dump bucket. 

Take Notes

For a lot of people, the entire purpose of a wine tasting event is to find new wines to purchase. 

It’ll be extremely difficult later trying to remember all the wines you tasted and all the notes of each wine. Create a system to rank or describe the wines you’re tasting without writing paragraphs about each wine. Something simple that can help you remember all the delicious wines you are tasting.

Be Inquisitive

The winemaker or a member of the winery team, are usually going to be the ones pouring their wines at the event. This is a great time to ask sincere questions about their process and the wines.

They will enjoy fielding questions and offering pairings about their wines. Just be sure not to dominate all of their time as there will most likely many other people that also want to speak with them and ask questions.

Give Your Opinion

Oftentimes the winemaker or winery team member will be interested to know what you think of their wines. Feel free to share your thoughts and feelings on their wines, especially if you are at a large tasting event. 

In a more intimate wine event setting, you want to be careful not to dominate the event. While you may have volumes of knowledge about wine in your head, let everyone voice their thoughts and opinions as they taste the wines. Continually interjecting, talking over people, or making people feel as if their opinions are wrong will quickly make you an unwanted guest. Wine tasting is very subjective and each person will experience the wines in a slightly different way. There are no wrong answers or feelings when wine tasting.

Prepare for Red-Wine Teeth

A widely known fact in the wine world is that red wines will most likely color your teeth.

Drinking the water and eating food in between glasses help wash and soak-up some of the red wine. 

Have Fun

While there are certainly professional wine tasters who take events very seriously, you should enjoy yourself.

Find a new wine, make new friends, and create lasting memories.

Are You Ready to Go? 

Your mind should be racing with the thoughts, smells, and tastes of delicious wine and hopefully you’ll feel confident in attending any wine tasting event! 

If you’re ready to start your wine tour, contact us so we can make sure you have the best experience.

Related: When Does Wine Expire? – Wine Country Travel