One bottle between sixteen people is the standard pour at two of the wine tasting clubs I belong to and it works well. But how do you accurately measure one twelfth or one sixteenth of a bottle? The methods used at the clubs I attend involve a measure. One club uses a port glass that luckily holds a sixteenth of a bottle, the other uses a small cook’s measuring pourer.
I have used a shot glass at my tastings on which I have stuck a label marked with a line to indicate the maximum pour. Calculating where to place the line involved using an empty wine bottle filled with water and trial and error in seeing how many pours could be made.
The point of wine tasting, it must be remembered, is to savour and experience the taste of wine, not to have a party and get drunk. Our wine tastings usually select eight different wines to taste. If we are sampling eight pours of one sixteen of a bottle, then that means that we are faced at most with the equivalent of half a bottle of wine per person. As a wine tasting organiser we don’t want to encourage people to over indulge – or be accused of doing so.
I say half a bottle at most because at our tastings we let people pour the wine themselves using the supplied measure, and – despite expectations – most people take less than the maximum.
Wine and a measure are not the only items that should be supplied. There should be sufficient pots, jugs or other container for tasters to pour away unwanted wines, or to spit out if they do not want to swallow the wine. And bottles or jugs of water to quench thirsts and clean palates. Whether you supply food to pair with the wine is a personal choice: doing so rather changes the focus from solely the wine to food and wine matching because food can change the perception of wines. But crackers and plain bread are neutral and good to have at hand.
Good glasses from which to taste are a must, and so are tasting sheets with details of the wine with spaces to record comments. Enjoy your tasting.
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