Live in Sonoma County and you no doubt have taken visitors wine tasting, even if you know absolutely nothing about it other than you either like it or you don’t. Browse through the gallery below for some go-to tips for next time, guaranteed to make you look a little less clueless.
Do: Go wine tasting with friends. Everything tastes better.
Sip the wine slowly and nod your head when they ask if you notice the hints of chocolate and raspberry.
Don’t: Have more than two glasses at your first stop.
Do: Sniff the wine and then say the first thing that comes to mind as to what it smells like.
Don’t: Be turned off by disgusting smell descriptors. For example, cat urine, barnyard, berry mold, forest floor, wet gravel….
Don’t: Stop other wine tasters when you see them about to pour their taster into the dump bucket. Adults get weird about sharing — especially if they don’t know you.
Do: Swirl the wine around before tasting it. This makes it seem like you know what you’re doing and aren’t just there to get buzzed.
Don’t: Taste wine without eating anything. While most wineries will have a few appetizers to enjoy, it’s best to eat beforehand. To be safe, bring along some plain crackers.
Do: Bring a designated driver, or hire a private driver.
Don’t: Go wine tasting with a boss or a gossipy friend.
Don’t: Gulp the taster down and ask for a refill.
Don’t: Feel pressured to buy every wine you taste. But DO buy if the first glass invites a second. This means it’s a good wine.
Don’t: Wear strong perfume or cologne, and skip the essential oils that day.
Don’t: Turn away from the person pouring your wine while they are telling you what they are pouring.
Do: Ask questions (sometimes the conversation gets you more pours).
Do: Swish and spit, especially if you plan to visit several tasting rooms. Try to refrain from gargling.
Don’t: Feel like you have to spit if you don’t want to. If you’re enjoying your wine, feel free to swallow.
Don’t: Spill the wine — on you, or anyone else.
Do: Avoid tasting rooms that are full and feel like a bar (there are plenty of others nearby).
Don’t: Ask a Sonoma County winery to direct you to the best Napa tasting room.
Don’t: Feel that you need to say the right thing or do the right thing.
Do: Drink plenty of water.
Do: Relax and have fun!