General Winery Etiquette
- Wear comfortable clothes! You're going to be walking a lot on your tour. Many of the pathways are some sort of gravel, so keep this in mind when choosing your shoes as well. The more comfortable you are, the better time you will have.
- As you enter a tasting room head for the tasting bar or for the counter to purchase your tasting. A host will greet you and get you started with wine glasses and explain what wines are available for tasting and if there are any tasting fees. Most wineries today charge a tasting fee. In almost all tours, you have already paid for your tastings and we have you covered for this part. Grape Creek will be the only winery where this may be the exception.
- Tasting rooms vary from the very elaborate to a simple table set up in the winemaking area. Most of our wineries here in the hill country are very casual.
- White wines are tasted first, followed by red wines, and then dessert wines. If you have a preference for just one type of wine, don't be shy about asking for just that particular family instead of the whole list. Many wineries will also let you pick a designated number of wines from a longer list, so skipping some of the wines is totally acceptable.
- Taste each wine carefully and savor each sip. A description on how to taste wines is detailed below.
- Most wineries will have a sheet of tasting notes. Read the tasting notes as you taste and see if you notice any of the aromas or flavors listed in the notes.
- Normally you would not ask for a second taste of one particular wine unless you indicate that you are interested in purchasing the wine.
- You do not have to drink all the wine in your glass. Toss the unwanted wine in your glass into the dump bucket provided at the counter.
- If water is provided, use it to clear your palate or to rinse your glass. Rinsing the glass is a good idea when the tasting moves from whites to reds or to dessert wines. Also, crackers will help you clear your palette and many wineries have them at the counter in a bowl.
- When a fee is charged, it is usually okay for two people to share one glass and pay only one tasting fee.
Look at the wine – "Appearance"
Take a look at the color of the wine. Look for the clarity of the wine and the brilliance of the color. The wines will vary in their intensity of color. Hold the glass towards the light.
Smell the wine – "Aroma"
Swirl the wine in your glass by rotating your wrist. This takes a little practice. Most people have trouble at first because they are moving their entire arm to swirl the glass. The key is in the wrist. Rotate the wrist while holding the rest of the arm still. The swirling of the glass releases the wine’s aromas to the top edge of the glass.
Place your nose just over and the edge of the wine glass. Keep your mouth open. The aromas should bounce off this edge straight up the nostrils. Take a very deep sniff. Identify any familiar smells. Repeat, but rest your sense of smell a few seconds before you smell again.
Taste the wine – "Character"
After smelling the wine it is time to take a sip. Roll it over your tongue for several seconds before swallowing. Exhale through your nose as you swallow. Your taste buds and sense of smell will work together.
On the second sip, try swishing the wine around in the mouth and then swallow and exhale through your nose. Some tasters “chew” the wine in the mouth. Try each and see what works best for you.
The aftertaste – "Finish"
Good wines have a long lasting finish. Once you swallow measure how much the wine lingers in your mouth and nose. Use the tasting notes supplied by the tasting room as you taste each wine. Ask your host about the wine and its characteristics. Developing the skill of wine tasting takes a great deal of practice. The more wines you taste, the better you will become with this entire sensory process.
Source: Wine Country Getaways