If you are new to the winery tasting experience, here are a few suggestions for your venture. First, taste wine with friends. It will be more fun with comrades in the exploration. In the tasting room, the staff will enjoy sharing about their wines. So ask about the vineyards and how the wines are made. Plan for food around your tastings. It enriches the experience, moderates the alcohol and nurtures responsible tasting. Winery staff and restaurant servers will gladly recommend a food and wine pairing for you.

To make your winery visit more rewarding, here are a few tips on appreciating wine. Be open minded and try different wines. You’re buying a taste not a house. First, consider the color. It should be clear and inviting, perhaps prismatic or deep and rich. Next, place the glass on the counter and rotate the glass in short circular patterns to set the wine in a swirling motion to release its aromatics. This method is safer than free hand and will save on dry cleaning bills. Smell the wine. Try to identify the aromas. Imagine you are strolling through a produce market admiring the fruits and veggies. Do you detect any of these in the wine? Pineapple, strawberry, cherry, peach. Maybe apple, green pepper, mushroom or something from the herb counter. You get the idea.

Now take a sip, not a gulp. You are tasting, not quenching thirst. The wine’s personality will reveal itself with levels of sweetness/dryness and sensations of acidity. Look for the flavors from the produce market. With reds, you will encounter degrees of tannins that can make your mouth feel dry even though it’s wet. Consider the wine’s body. Is it light or weighty? And the finish? How long does the taste sensation last after you swallow?  Longer is better. Above all – taste responsibly.

This is just a quick primer, but hopefully you will find these tips helpful in your tasting experience.