Learning about wine tastings is an fun thing when you have never actually experienced the process. With wine tasting tours increasing in popularity, it is not uncommon for people to look for information so that they know what to expect from start to finish. There is a particular etiquette to these tastings, and not knowing this is going to leave you feeling rather awkward when the time comes for your first tasting.
The first part of the whole process usually involves a tour of the winery and grounds. This is because the owners tend to show the visitors the whole process that involves making wine. After you have completed the tour, most wine tastings will start in a separate room. Larger tastings that have a large group of people might have a room that is filled with tables and resembles a restaurant. Smaller tastings can be done in smaller areas and usually have a simple set up, like tall tables that you stand at.
There are three main things that you will be examining in your tasting session. Wine tastings are specifically designed to give you ample time to thoroughly check out the different wines that are served. You will be checking out the colour, smell and flavour of the wines in the tasting session. The smell and taste are directly related to each other because your smell affects how you taste things, so these two aspects take the most time.
Step 1: Visual examination
The wine is poured into the wine glasses. You hold the glass up against a solid white background if possible and examine the colour of the wine. White wines and red wines will have different criteria that you will be looking for. Good white wines are usually coloured light yellow to an amber colour. Age and sweetness determine how dark the colour will be. Red wines, on the other hand, can be easily pinpointed based on its colour. Younger wines appear in a bright red, but as it gets older, it will turn into a deeper red.
Step 2: The first smell
As stated before, the smell of the wine will help determine how it tastes to you. The distinguishing smell as well as the undertones that you pick up influence the taste that you experience. It is often a good practice to first swirl the wine around in the glass gently to help release and blend the scents and flavours.
Step 3: The second smell
Tasting the wine can be a great experience. You start by taking small sips of the wine and allowing your taste buds to take in the various aspects of each particular wine. An important tip here is to pay close attention to how much of the wine that you swallow, as it can be quite easy to become intoxicated and not realize it. Many wineries will provide bowls or separate cups that you can spit the wine into when you are finished.
Most wine tastings will give you access to a fresh supply of water. The idea is that you are supposed to use the water in between the different types of wine that you are tasting. This helps to refresh your taste buds so that you can distinguish the different flavours of each wine.