Do you want to be an expert tasting room guest? Not sure where to begin? In this inaugural blog, I’ve listed a few Dos and Don'ts that will help to make your tasting room experience fun and knowledgeable.
DO plan a trip with friends. Wine just tastes better when shared with a great group of people. Pick 3 to 6 friends, 2 to 3 wineries, 1 designated driver and off you go!
DO try to make an appointment for a group tasting whenever possible. Most tasting rooms do not require reservations but most really appreciate being able to plan the tasting in advance. (Side note: This may also heighten your overall experience)
DON’T wear heavy perfumes and fragrances. The scents will only mask the wine bouquet and overall flavor of the wine. What’s the point in swirling and sniffing the finest Russian River Pinot Noir when all you can taste is patchouli?
DO ask questions. The more you ask, the more you learn. Don’t be intimidated by strange looking words on the tasting menu. Can’t pronounce it? Ask your Tasting Room Attendant. What’s the difference between the 2009 and 2010 vintages? Ask your attendant. Most tasting room staff are super knowledgeable about the wines they pour. They love it when their geek buttons are pressed and will be happy to answer your questions- and sometimes with great detail. (Side note: Don’t forget to take notes. Your memory may get a bit foggy after your third or fourth taste.)
DO inquire about wine club discounts and incentives. Should you become a fan of a particular winery, this may save you TONS of money over time. Wineries offer anywhere from 15-30% off retail pricing to club members. Members also have access to super-exclusive wines that are only available to club members and are not sold in the retail marketplace. Most wine clubs even extend the offer of complimentary wine tasting to the member’s guests as well.
DON’T bring outside food and/or wines into the tasting room without permission. This may be something you want to plan in advance. Some wineries sell bites & nibbles and some will even allow you to picnic with your wine on their lawns or patios. Bring water, snacks, protein bars or even make reservations for a nice lunch or dinner at one of the hot restaurants in the area. (Last side note: If you do not eat, your liver will be very upset and will definitely complain.)
DO have fun and be safe!