Wine tastings can be fantastic outings, where you can enjoy time with friends, recharge, unwind, and most importantly, taste some great wines. However, if you want to get the maximum benefit and fun out of them, you need to avoid certain wine tasting mistakes that can sabotage your experience.
Wine Tastings Mistakes Can Ruin Your Perception
A wine tasting is your chance to learn about new wine grapes, new styles, and new concepts. In fact, it’s a good brain exercise where all your senses can collaborate to translate the wine qualities into flavors and aromas. A good wine tasting will leave you feeling smarter, excited, confident, and curious to explore more.
However, there are certain wine tasting mistakes that can alter your perception of wine and generate a negative impression
Most Common Wine Tasting Mistakes
Here are some of the most common wine tasting mistakes that you need to avoid to enhance your tasting experience.
1. Don’t Be Prejudiced
This is your opportunity to explore and discover something new. There are hundreds of wine grapes out there, many wine styles and wine regions. The world of wine is so colorful and exiting, so tread it with curiosity, not rigidness. Keep this notion in mind when you go to a tasting.
Try not to disregard the thought of trying something unfamiliar and avoid prejudgment. Who knows, you may be just about to discover a new favorite grape! Embrace the tasting experience and be ready for the adventure.
2. Don’t Look at The Price of Wine
Somehow, people’s eyes seem to find the price before they find the wine. So they base their judgment on what they see. Whether the price is low or expensive, it can influence your perception of the wine. But nothing could be more unfair and judgmental than viewing a wine through the lens of price.
The way wines are priced is complicated, and sometimes, has little to do with how they taste. Wine price is a part of its marketing, branding, and a complicated matrix of economic factors, including its cost. Personally, I have tasted wines that were unknown and inexpensive, and they were mind blowing. So, please stop looking at the price list, and let your palate, not your eyes, be the judge.
3. Don’t Skip Breakfast on The Day of Your Tasting
This is my golden rule before a wine tasting and I never tire of repeating it. Ingesting alcoholic beverages of any sort into an empty stomach will lead to a disastrous outcome. Sometimes, tastings at wineries are scheduled in the mornings, and you may not have the time, or the desire, to grab your pancakes and fried eggs before arriving at the winery.
Remember, it’s very important to have breakfast, or at least a satisfying bite, on the day of your tasting to keep your whole system happy and energized while sipping wine. This will help you avoid getting affected by alcohol too soon, prevent drowsiness, and keep you mindful throughout the tasting.
4. Don’t Be a Winery Hopper!
Here’s a tip from my personal experience: avoid cramming the day with tastings! I used to be one of those people who would try to schedule as many tastings as possible in just one day. I would tell myself, I’m only visiting here for a day or two, and there are so many wineries on my bucket list, and if I’m organized and efficient then nothing could go wrong! Well, I got it all wrong.
Your ‘fear of missing out’ will prevent you from indulging in a memorable wine tasting experience. If you fill your day with tastings, you will end up fatiguing your palate. Then your last tastings will seem boring and forgettable—and regrettable too. Try NOT to visit more than two wineries in one day. Even if you start early, visiting three wineries can be too hectic. Plan your day wisely, and make sure to include a light lunch, or a coffee break and an early dinner.
5. Don’t Wear Strong Perfume Before The Tasting
Do you ever wonder why the Pinot Noir in your glass smells more like lavender and oud and nothing like the fruity aromas your host is describing.
If so, blame it on your choice of perfume.
When we taste wine, our sense of smell is just as important as our sense of taste.
Overpowering fragrances can dominate, and you won’t be able to appreciate the delicate aromas of the wine. The physiology of taste starts in the nose. Meaning, we taste with our nose first. So keep your tasting environment as neutral as possible to get the best perception of the wine.
6. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Questions
Your host at a wine tasting is not only there to pour you wines and babble a few words about every bottle. He or she is there to be your guide throughout the tasting.
This is your chance to ask your questions and learn more about the wine you’re tasting, and how and where it was made. After all, a wine tasting is an educational experience.
7. Don’t Be Late to Your Tasting
Punctuality is valued everywhere, of course, including at wine tastings. The winery staff have scheduled your tasting according to their capacity and time allocation. If you arrive late to your tasting, they will have to rush the flights, and pour the wines back-to-back within a narrow time window.
This means, you won’t be able to savor your wines to decide which one is your favorite, or be able to ask your curious questions, or hear the amazing stories behind each bottle. Honor your appointment to your best ability so can you enjoy your tasting in the best possible way.
Wine Tasting Etiquette
The dos and don’ts of wine tasting etiquette are not meant to turn people into wine snobs. On the contrary, it’s an approach to maximize the tasting experience and help improve it for everyone. By recognizing our current habits or behaviors at a wine tasting, we learn how to be intentional tasters rather than casual tasters and prevent silly mistakes from ruining our tasting.