I love going out on weekend wine tasting adventures. It can be a winery I’ve never been to before or one of my favorites; either way it’s wine and I’m tasting it—or at this point in my wine tasting career, I should just call it what it is: wine drinking.
Why wine drinking? Because either I’ve tasted at a particular winery a few times or occasionally I will simply taste a couple new wines on a list, then purchase a bottle to pop open and enjoy in a tasting room’s outdoor area. That is, unless I’m at a winery that doesn’t allow its patrons the luxury… *sigh.
Anyway, to get back to talking about wine tasting, I have made some observations of tasting room quests over the years. To start, most folks are pleasant, while others act inappropriately or annoying, even downright rude to staff and other guests. The main points of going wine tasting are to discover new wine faves, socialize and have fun, so why do some people come off as asshats? Well, there are a number of reasons—luckily, many are easily avoidable.
Let me walk you through a few of my own tasting room etiquette tips that even the most uncivilized bastard will understand:
- Don’t go wine tasting on an empty stomach
Many wine newbies see tasting pours and think, “Wow. That’s not a lot of wine.” But after tasting six different samples or so per winery—let’s say you visit three that day—you’ve likely consumed the equivalent of three to four glass of wine. Wine tasting newbie or not, always eat before, during and after, and drink plenty of water, otherwise you might feel sick or get drunk (we’ll get to this point shortly).
- Share the crackers
Most tasting rooms are stocked with bowls of plain crackers or bread for guests to nibble on while they taste. Like the bowls of nuts and pretzels at your local sports bar, the crackers are meant for sharing, not pulling on front of you to devour like a starving chipmunk. Personally, I don’t partake in community TR nibbles due to other’s grimy hands digging through and touching every single goddamn cracker: To those of you who were born in a barn, it’s not your own personal bag of popcorn. Take the top one using two fingers…seriously.
- Refrain from shaking your glass at the TR associate
Shaking your glass at a tasting room associate to get their attention is rude. FYI, they’ve not forgotten you. Keep in mind that weekends are prime time for crowded wine tasting rooms and the associate is pouring for others as well. So, calm the F down, be patient and don’t shake your empty wine glass high up in the air and whistle an alert at the person behind the counter. They will pour you the next tasting on the list when they get a damn second.
- It’s not the time to get drunk
Whether you’re feeling tipsy because you didn’t eat anything all day or you don’t know what a wine tasting is, you getting drunk in the TR is embarrassing for your group and it takes the fun away from other guests. To avoid total intoxication, pace yourself—take a break from drinking every two tasting rooms and go explore the area, enjoy the scenery for a bit. In short, if you want to get shitfaced, the place to not do it is at a winery’s tasting room.
It’s a tasting room, not a get drunk room. So, what behaviors have you observed while wine tasting?
On a side note, it’s a perfect day for chilled sparkling wine since it’s bitch ass hot outside. As such, I’m drinking a flute (or two, or three) of crisp prosecco while writing this. Sip on, folks!
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