10 Tasting Rules

November 7, 2009

Musings

I enjoy wine tasting and have had the pleasure of tasting all over the United States (someday, I’ll make it to Europe). While I am not a wine expert by any means, I do know what proper tasting room etiquette is. Sadly, some people do not so I wanted to post 10 tasting room rules that need to be followed!

  1. Plan your trip in advance.  In most states (outside of the big 4), wineries are spread out.  Do your due diligence and check hours of operation and print directions in advance.
  2. Do not bring along alcoholic beverages or wine to drink while visiting a winery. Have respect for the winery you are currently visiting and enjoy a glass or share a bottle of their wine on the grounds.
  3. If you are with a group tasting, please be considerate of those around you. Best advice to parties, call ahead and pre-arrange your visit so your party can be accommodated.
  4. If you bring children to a tasting room, please keep them quiet and behaved. Do not let them run around and disrupt the atmosphere.
  5. Do not get drunk and act stupid. A tasting room associate can refuse to serve you if they suspect you are drunk.
  6. If other people are waiting for an open spot at the bar, politely wait your turn to taste.
  7. Crackers are to cleanse your palate between wine tastings, not to satisfy your case of the munchies.  Most wineries have food that can be purchased and enjoyed on the grounds.
  8. Record you tasting notes.  If you visit more than one winery, it’s difficult to remember what you tasted and enjoyed.
  9. If you dislike a wine, politely pour out the wine and record your notes.  No need to verbally share your thoughts with everyone in the winery.
  10. Stay hydrated.  Bring along water between tastings, or better yet, pack a picnic to enjoy outside with a bottle of wine!

I hope you find the above rules helpful.  I also suggest you check out fellow blogger and friend Dezel Quillen of Virginia Vine Spot.  He put together a great guide.  Did I miss any?  Would love to read your comments.  Cheers!

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About Brian Kirby

A locavore who is passionate about local wine and the growing wine industry in the other 46 states.

View all posts by Brian Kirby

9 Responses to “10 Tasting Rules”

  1. Randy Watson Says:

    You forgot one important rule! If you don’t spit (which I never do) make sure to have a driver or someone who isn’t drinking take you around. Your rules about staying hydrated and packing some food are very helpful too!

    I am always surprised how much a few pours can add up into quite a buzz!

    Cheers!

  2. Brian Kirby Says:

    Hi Randy,
    Tell me about it! A pour here and a pour there quickly adds up! To me, the designated driver rule (much like wearing a seat belt) has been instilled in me from day 1, so it’s common sense. But nonetheless, should be number 1 in every list!
    Cheers bro!

  3. Randy Watson Says:

    So, just out of curiosity, where’s your next wine tasting trip going to be?

  4. Brian Kirby Says:

    New York (Long Island). I keep saying I’m going to visit, but never leave the city.

  5. Frank Morgan Says:

    Excellent list of Tasting Room Rules… in addition to planning ahead to have a designated driver as Randy noted, I would also recommend that people with pets check the winery pet policy BEFORE arriving at the winery. Many wineries, especially here in Virginia, tend to be pet friendly (or small pet friendly), but I’ve learned that a ‘few’ certainly are not pet friendly, and those wineries that are not fond of patrons bring their pets, seem to be rabid anti-pet. We made that mistake once here in Virginia – assuming we could bring our puppy (mini-dachshund) to a winery. When my son walked in with our pooch (on a small leash) and the owner lady literally yelled at us. (Yikes!)
    I’ll be back down in MCO for two weeks in January, we’ll have to plan another Wine Room visit…
    ~ Frank

  6. Brian Kirby Says:

    Hi Frank,
    Thank you for the kind words and addition to the list! VirginiaWine.org has included a great new enhancement to their winery directory to include “winery features”. Visitors have the option to filter search results based on winery features such as “pet friendly” and “picnic area” to only name a few. With one click, a visitor can see all pet friendly wineries in Virginia (84 to be exact:-) I wish more states would follow suit.

    I’m definitely down for a repeat visit to the Wine Room. Hit me up before the trip and we’ll nail down a date with Randy. Cheers!

  7. Judy Motel Says:

    I love your list, and as a winery owner I would like to add a new one:

    Please don’t ask the wine server “which of your wines are the best”
    Naturally we tell them “all of them”.
    Judy

  8. Brian Kirby Says:

    Hi Judy,
    Thank you for your kind words and readership! I will definitely add this to my second version for release next year! Cheers!

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