Now Behave!: A Guide to Tasting Room Etiquette
Tasting rooms can be intimidating places! We've walked in to a packed room where you stand like a deer in the headlights because you have no idea where to go. We've walked into a tasting room where you think the rapture has happened and you were left alone. We've also walked into tasting rooms when you immediately realize it is going to be an awkward experience. Half of the fun of wine tasting is the tasting room experience, whatever surprise you may have. No matter what though, there are some rules that need to be in place. No one wants to be the person the wine spirit guide (our term for the wine pourer, in case you've forgotten) grumbles about later.
Here are some guidelines to help you navigate
1. Never argue with the wine spirit guide. He/she may do some very wrong things. Very wrong. That still doesn't give you license to argue. Just internally laugh to yourself that you know more than the employee and leave it at that.
2. Don't be difficult. If you want to share a tasting, that is fine, but don't be picky about glasses. Sharing means just that, you are sharing a glass. Seriously, tastings do not cost enough to try and get out of a couple of bucks.
3. Watch your face. I am the worlds worst at this, so I'm speaking to myself here. Think the wine is atrocious? Try and hold it in. Really, it isn't cute to make everyone laugh at your facial expression. Jokes are much more appreciated.
4. Know basic wine knowledge (eh um, by reading our blog of course). If a wine description says it has aromas, or tastes of [insert approved wine word, such as lichee or tar, anything that only .0005% of the population has tried], said item is not actually in the glass. Nothing makes a wine spirit guide chuckle more (on the inside of course, unless they are a terrible human being), than if you actually talk about how the fruit is in the wine.
5. It is obvious when you are showing off. Yes, you may be a clever 50 year old man schmoozing your next potential wife, but you aren't fooling anyone. I'll give you credit that you may even know your wine facts; but really, no need to tell everyone.
6. Call ahead! Everyone has been in the car with 15 minutes left before wineries are closing and you want to hit just one more. "We must get to 6 today, We can do it!" JMo and I may or may not have said that to each other numerous times. That is ok, but be considerate and at least call. 9 times out of 10 the staff will be ok and say to come on. But there are times that people have stuff to do, and in that case someone that walks in with 5 minutes to spare is just a rude human being.
Hopefully these tidbits help you on your path to being a more civilized wine taster. Go out and enjoy the winery experience!