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Going Wine Tasting for the First Time: Things You Need to Know

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Wine tasting events can be a very enjoyable experience. By attending them, you'll be able to visit the vineyard where certain types were produced and taste a few varieties that it has to offer on your trip. However, this isn't just as simple as showing up and drinking a few glasses.

It has a very intricate setup that everyone needs to know if they plan to take how does a wine tasting event work? This guide will help you know what to expect before you visit one. 

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Tips for Wine Tasting Events

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  • Consider Your Outfit

Dressing correctly for this is crucial, but something that is often disregarded. You'll want to be sure to dress comfortably as you'll travel up and down the vineyard to see the land during the day where the grapes are grown. The dress code tends to be informal although some vineyards might request you dress formally. However, don't wear white to the wineries as any possible spills will show on your clothing and leave a permanent stain. 

  • Budget 

It can be easy to overspend at one of these events because there are many choices available. While they tend to not be very expensive (only about $15-20 for a few glasses), it can eventually add up. Because of this, you'll want to make sure to stick to a budget so you don't overspend. 

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    Be Sure to Ask Plenty of Questions

This is your time to ask any questions you might have about wine. You can ask the winemaker about the history of the vineyard, the types of barrels it's stored in, or why they chose to grow a certain type of grape. The answers can be very informing and help you learn more about the pressing process. You can even ask them about the serving temperature and if they think this beverage tastes better warm or cold

If you're looking to ask other questions, some other things you might ask are:

  • Do you have blended options?
  • What type of casks do you use? How do they impact the flavor?
  • Which type has the highest alcohol content?
  • How do you tell if a bottle has gone bad?
  • What food do you recommend to pair with this selection?
  • How can I properly store the bottle after opening it?
  • What is the best time of day to harvest the grapes? 

While it might seem like asking many questions would be annoying, it's actually welcomed. Many winemakers enjoy answering questions and being able to describe their products more and how they differ from other wineries. 

  • Hold the Glass Correctly

It's vital that you hold the wine glass correctly. You'll want to delicately take the stem of the glass to hold it. This is meant to help prevent fingerprints from being smeared all over the clean glass. However, before you drink, hold the stem and swirl the liquid in the glass around a bit to help increase the oxygen in it. The oxygen helps this drink to "breathe" which allows it to start enhancing its flavor even more. 

  • Watch the Wine You Choose

Because this is your first time doing this you want to take it slow. Ideally, you should begin with lighter ones and work up to richer, darker selections. The darker it is, the older it tends to be so it's a little more intense than new bottles. You'll want to try to start out with ones like dry and sweet white samples. However, toward the end of your tasting, you can try some dessert wines which give a nice touch to the end. 

  • Use All Your Senses 

It's not just your palate you need to use when enjoying this beverage. You need to use other senses like your smell. You should always smell your wine before drinking it. This will help you to get acquainted with it a bit more before you consume it. Does it smell fruity? Strong? Clean?

One iconic area well-known for its bottles that test all the senses is the Napa Valley. The famed creations from here popular for a reason - because they encourage you to use all your senses. Napa selections are known for their unique structure, balance, and color. These Napa choices are also well-known for aging well and taste marvelous after sitting for years in oak casks. This is due to the Napa soil being extremely fertile which adds a great flavor and smell to the grapes, like with Napa Cabernet and Napa Merlot. 

Your sense of smell can also help you to identify if a bottle has gone bad. If it smells like raisins or is musty, stay away from it. 

It's also good to look at the color of it. Does the wine look nice? Are the shades even? Each type has its own shades that are required for it to be a "perfect" glass so it's important to look at it closely. 

You'll also want to swish it around in your mouth so you can get a better idea of its texture. Some people even chew it which has been shown to help enhance the drink's flavor. 

  • Use a Spittoon

If you don't want to swallow the wine you've just tried you can spit it out in a spittoon. This is a special device that has a funnel at the top which you can spit it into. While this might sound a little strange, it's actually designed to help prevent you from consuming quite a bit of alcohol which could otherwise cause you to become drunk during your tasting. If you don't like it, you can use the spittoon to spit it out so you don't have to swallow it. 

  • Drink Water and Wash Out Your Glass

Drinking a lot of wine can cause dehydration. Because of this, you'll often find some water at events to help ensure you don't become parched and lightheaded. Gulping water down after testing a few glasses will help to prevent this from happening. It's also a good idea to occasionally wash out your glass slightly with some water to prevent flavors from mixing with each other. 

These events can be a lot of fun and when you travel to different wineries you'll be able to find bottles from them you can use for future parties or dinners you might hold. The tips above will help you to find the best selections and learn more about this intricate beverage. The world offers many great selections and your first tasting surely won't be your last. 

For more information, please refer to the following pages:

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