How to Become a Professional Wine Taster
Whether you want to set up your own wine tasting events, or further perfect your flavor recognition, becoming a professional taster implies that you have been through years of training and are now recognized by your peers to be a sommelier. This is not something that can be done overnight, but with enough education and practice, you can reach this level after putting in the hard work.
First Things First
To learn how to be an expert sommelier, it is important that you first know how wine tasting events work. Like any hobby, it takes time and practice. There are two main parts to this skill: knowing how to recognize different varieties and being comfortable setting up your own event. This page will help break down both of these facets and increase your education of this popular hobby.
If you are completely new to this hobby, you should consider taking some wine tasting classes in Paris, or at a place of your local convenience. Once you are around professionals for a while, you will quickly discover what it takes to be a professional sommelier. In short, this takes a vast knowledge of the many different bottles, regional specialties, and tastes for each product.
How to Setup Professional Wine Tastings
It may not easy to learn about the various different products and varieties of wines in the world to be able to run your own professional event. However, it will still require you to understand how an event like this works, and what aspects are normally involved.
Bring a Few Different Bottles
Don't just go to the store and buy the cheapest bottles possible. A professional sommelier will tend to avoid products like this unless they fit a theme. Instead, try to get a few different varieties of bottles. For best results, make a theme. This is a facet of the event which adds excitement and fun to the atmosphere.
For a theme, perhaps you might sample the finest wines from a certain region of the world, heavily-aged vs. lightly-aged, the same product with different price tags, and so on. Comparing aged against not-aged will help you understand whether or not wine really tastes better with age. However, the idea here is to make the event fun for you and your guests. If you simply select the least expensive options around, you will likely end up with less interest in your event.
Buy Snacks and Water
Food and water are a great way for keeping people entertained, fed, and hydrated. The food aspect of your event shouldn't be anything too extravagant. Make it something simple like cheese and crackers, or perhaps getting some chips and leaving them out in a public area.
Water is always nice to have around. Especially when alcoholic beverages are involved. Since science has connected consuming alcohol to causing dehydration, it is nice to have this readily available in case you or any of your guests get thirsty. This will also leave you with plenty of tasty snacks when the mood calls for them.
Glasses for Enough People
As any expert sommelier knows, there is a certain type of glass which you need for this event. Typically, the glass should have a long stem which is below the cup. This is also where you should hold it. To be able to account for the guests which you know are coming, and the ones which you aren't expecting, a general rule of thumb is to have more than enough glasses.
If you received 5 RSVPs for your event, assume that 10 are showing up. You never know if a friend of yours brings a couple of other friends with them, who in turn has another friend that wants to come along. Although many will consider it a priority to let you know when they want to bring others with them, you never know. This is why it is important to plan for your event to be as big as possible.
Set Up a Quiet Sitting Area
Having space for people to sit and chat will show them that they are welcome and encouraged to stick around and be friendly with others. Having a sitting area gives your guests a place to relax, discuss the bottles that are sampled, compare them with previous experiences, share ideas, and so on. The sitting area can also be a great place to position your water and snacks.
How to Hone and Perfect Your Tasting Ability
When we discussed how to taste wine like a pro, there were several tips discussed which you should keep in mind for getting better at trying the different wines like a professional would. Although this page was much more extensive, here are some extra ideas to keep in mind and really master should you want to become a supertaster.
Use All Possible Senses
We only have 5 senses, so we should make full use of them. This is especially true for trying out new bottles. A sommelier will experience each bottle with at least four senses. This is touch, taste, smell, and sight. Unless you are capable of hearing wine, it is unlikely that you will be able to try this.
Start by glancing at the texture of the drink, look at each of the pristine details. Swirl it around to get a view of it oxygenating. Smell the cup to experience the aroma. Smelling, in particular, will help you remember each bottle in a different aspect. Then, let the wine touch your tongue and begin the critical portion of the exercise. This is also a great method for knowing how to taste acidity in wine.
Spread the Wine to Every Portion of the Tongue
A sommelier knows that each part of the tongue is great for stimulating different flavor reactions. For the actual tasting portion of the process, it is important that you activate as many of these buds as possible. This can be easily done by moving around the wine in your mouth, letting it soak into each portion of the tongue. Let it sit for a while until you are satisfied with the experience of the flavor.
Practice Blind Tasting As Much As Possible
This is a skill which can be frustrating to increase. A professional blind taster will quickly be able to pinpoint the type of the bottle with a blindfold over his eyes. This is why it's important to use as many senses as possible when practicing your supertasting. Perhaps you will consider running your next event blindly so that you and your guests can try this out first-hand.
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