More and more people are beginning to want something different from their wine. So much so that wine tasting events are filling up fast whenever they are announced. And whether it’s a wine-seller or the winemakers themselves who are running the event, you can rest assured that you will learn a huge amount, and come away with a new appreciation for a good drop of drink. It may not stop you from picking up a cheap(ish) bottle of Pinot from the supermarket next time you’re there (and there’s nothing wrong with that, by the way), but it could mean you know which wine to pair with what at a restaurant and what bottle to take to a swanky celebration.
But the wine tasting itself… what are the top hints and tips to follow to really make sure you make the most of it?
Whilst it’s (probably) not essential (there will be some wine tastings that do have a dress code, however), dressing the part never hurt anyone. You will feel confident and alert if you are wearing something smart, but it’s important to feel comfortable too. This is about the wine, after all, not your squashed toes or tucked in tummy. Sleeves should be short, or at least not so long that they dangle into the wine you’re trying to taste. Wear dark colours, just in case you spill something, and if you have long hair make sure it is tied back or up.
Yes, it’s true, for most of the evening at a wine tasting event you will only have one hand free since you’ll be carrying a wine glass around in the other one. This means that if you’re also trying to deal with a notebook or tablet of some kind to make your notes on, you’re already at a disadvantage. How are you going to be able to enjoy the nibbles (more on that later), shake hands with new acquaintances, or do much else for that matter if you’ve got a glass in one hand and the other is full of notes? Just bring a bag or have pockets big enough to put your note making material into and it’s all going to be just fine.
Wine tasting isn’t just about taste; it’s about smell too. You’ll be taught how to get your nose right down into the subtle different flavours, but that’s not going to help you – or anyone else in the room – if your fragrance is too strong. Perfume, aftershave, deodorant, these are all lovely, lovely things in everyday life, but at a wine tasting they can spell (smell?) disaster. Try to find products that are fragrance free, or if that isn’t possible then try to not wear too much. It will make a big difference.
Wine tasting is almost the same as wine drinking – there are differences, the main one being that you’re meant to spit wine tasting wines out, of course. But on the whole, the same rules apply to wine tasting as they would if you went to a bar and tried to order a glass. You need ID. Bring your passport or driving licence with you just in case. You don’t want to be turned away at the last minute.
Wine Tasting Abroad
If you fancy travelling a bit further a field for your wine tasting experience try looking into wine travelling tours these great tours take you around some extraordinary scenery with some of the best wines in the region. These tours take place all over Europe and are a truly unique trip away. Don’t forget if you want to book one of these amazing trips you’ll need to make sure you’ve got a valid passport. If you want to grab a last minute deal but need to arrange passport renewal don’t worry, help is at hand for just such emergencies.
Don’t Try Them All
At a real, big wine tasting event there will be potentially hundreds of wines available to try. Don’t. Even if you are just sampling them, a tiny sip of dozens of wines will make you just as tipsy as a few glasses, even if it doesn’t seem that way. Not only that, but after a while, you won’t be able to taste the difference anymore, so there is no point. Come up with a plan about how many you ideally want to try, and work out which ones you’re going to like the best before diving in. A great tip is to start with sparkling, move on to white and rose, and finish with red.
Food & Drink
Not eating before or during (if you’re lucky and there is food laid on) a wine tasting event is a bad idea. You’ll get drunk quickly and you won’t be able to remember what’s what by the end of the evening, and that means it will basically be a big old waste of time.
We mentioned earlier about bringing some kind of notebook or tablet or whatnot with you to the wine tasting, and we meant it. If you don’t, you are just not going to remember the subtle differences between the wines you’re trying. And not knowing those differences will mean you won’t be able to remember that one particular wine that you really, really liked. And that would be a shame.
Make a point to talk to other people in the room. That means those in the know as well as those who are just trying things out, like you. Winemakers will be more than happy to answer any of your questions, and wine enthusiasts will want to have a chat about different aspects of the drink. Either way, you’re going to learn something, and you might even make a friend for life. Who knows? Just enjoy the evening and enjoy the wine!