Wine is a staple in many diets in countless cultures and countries. Itís easy to enjoy a glass of wine anywhere. No matter if you are in Napa or Naples, wine can enhance a meal, add to the conversation and be added as flavor to food. Itís an ingredient which both enhances and has enough personality to stand alone.
Wine tasting is a favorite past time among many. Expert or novice, tasting rooms cater to both. The tasting rooms of wineries are a great resource for learning about wine or to increase your existing knowledge. There you can sample wine, become educated about certain wines paired with specific food and generally appreciate something which tends to confound just as many individuals as those who truly appreciate a good glass of wine.
You can enjoy a wine taster at a vineyard or a local wine shop. Whether at a winery or shop, there is a correct etiquette which should be observed. Most tasting rooms have a bar with seats surrounding it. If in the tasting room of a winery, you will typically be treated to at least four wines they have available. If you fall into the novice category, make sure they know this. Itís always fun to teach along with pouring tasters.
If you are planning to taste a number of different types of wine you will traditionally begin with the whites. White wines are lighter in both body and taste Ė as compared to red wine. As you sip the various wines, you will also be introduced to how the grapes are harvested and where. What types of grapes made this particular wine and some local information are typically available also. This is also an opportunity to hear some local trivia or special happenings in and around the winery itself.
Unsalted water crackers or unflavored bread is usually provided for palate cleansing during tasting. Much like the nose needs a break when sniffing perfume (by inhaling coffee beans); your palate needs to balance out between tasters of wine. Usually there is nothing more substantial served at a tasting than crackers or bread. This is because you are not there for lunch or even a snack. You entered this place of business to taste wines.
When handling a wine glass, hold it by the stem. Your hand emits heat and the change in temperature can adjust the flavor of the wine. Another benefit is that by holding the stem your fingerprints are kept off the bowl of the glass. You also want to avoid wearing heaving perfume, cologne, after-shave or scented hair spray or gel. Smoke is another deterrent to wine tasting. Smoking at or just before tasting wine will affect the taste. The odor of cigarettes and cigars not only interferes with the enjoyment of the taste and smell of the wines, it can be irritating to other guests Ė both smokers and non. Mints and bubble gum are other items which affect the smell and taste of the wine. Rinsing your mouth well with water before beginning a tasting will help with this.
Aside from learning about a particular bottle of wine and how it came to be bottled, you are typically supporting a local small business. You are not just receiving some great information and being educated on wine, bottles, corks, grapes, etc. This is your chance to thank this company for entertaining you by purchasing some wine also. This is the final etiquette point. After spending time in a wine tasting room, be sure to purchase at least one bottle of wine. Many will balk at this suggestion and question whether or not they like the wine they tasted. Thatís where a little pre-planning and consideration comes in. You have essentially received the equivalent of a drink, lots of education and some serious entertainment. Purchasing one bottle of wine covers the time you took from this business owner.