Amy's Tips for Sips
A wine-tasting room is the perfect place to learn about wine and explore your own preferences. Following these basic guidelines will help you get the most out of your visit.
• Research in advance the wineries you’ll visit so you know their specialties and their winemaking style.
• Go kid-free.
• Let the tasting room staff guide you. If they aren’t too busy, ask for a tour or description of the winery—and tip your server.
• Try wines you normally wouldn’t drink. If you are a Chardonnay-only sort of person, try a rosé or a light-bodied red. If you normally avoid dessert wines, try a late-harvest Zinfandel.
• Experience the wine as fully as possible with all your senses. Look at how the wine shimmers in the glass, appreciate the color. Swirl the wine to release its aromas and then take a deep whiff to take in all the scents. Sip a bit and feel it in your mouth. Think about what you like and note what you don’t.
• Limit your visits to two or three wineries in a day, or share tastings with a friend. If you start to feel tipsy, take a break and have something to eat. (And don’t drive.)
• Wear cologne. Perfume pollutes your sense of smell and can interfere with those around you as well.
• Be afraid to pour into the dump bucket anything you aren’t enjoying, or if you want to limit your alcohol intake.
• Allow your objectivity to be colored by the tasting room and the winery’s surroundings. It’s easy to be seduced by spectacularly appointed tasting rooms, swanky gift shops, breathtaking views or impressive architecture. Humble facilities may pleasantly surprise you with the wines and your overall experience.