Wine tasting is a great way to learn more about wine, all while perhaps doing something practical, such as choosing the best wine for a special occasion. If you've never been to a proper wine tasting before, there are a few things that you need to know about.
What to Wear
Yes, a wine stain can be difficult to shift, and you will be spitting red wine (but more about that later). If you are having a dedicated wine tasting session, it can be a good idea to wear dark colours… just in case. There's no need to dress formally as a wine tasting is generally a casual affair.
Using Your Nose
You will be informed about the various scents that might be noticed in the wine before you actually taste it. Don't be afraid if you don't recognise these scents. You will certainly notice a couple of different scents in the liquid, but you might not be able to properly differentiate the smells. This is something that comes with experience. But because you will be using your nose, it can be smart to avoid making a nasal impact yourself. So perhaps you should avoid wearing perfume or aftershave today.
The Amount in Your Glass
You will be given a predetermined amount in your glass, specially measured to be a tasting amount. It is generally no more than a mouthful, so you don't need to say when to stop pouring. If you were expecting more, please remember that this is a tasting. If you like a particular type of wine, you can ask for a second tasting, or you can purchase some at the end from the wine supplier.
Using Your Eyes
Don't drink the wine the moment it has been poured. You should hold it up to the light to check its clarity. If the wine appears slightly hazy, this might be because the winemaker has decided against filtering in order to achieve a particular taste. This is somewhat rare, and most wines will be clear, with perhaps a tiny amount of naturally-occurring sediment.
Into Your Mouth
Drink the wine, and take it all into your mouth. A small sip won't allow you to properly gauge the quality of the wine, and a large gulp can be messy. You should suck it into your mouth (yes, this could be considered a slurp) which allows the wine to circulate inside your mouth, giving you the chance to appreciate the depths of its taste.
To Spit or to Swallow
You can spit the wine into the provided bucket, or you can swallow it. Both options are perfectly acceptable, but please remember that you will possibly not be able to appreciate the subtleties of flavour if you become drunk. This means that it can be wise to spit the wine out, particularly during the earlier parts of your wine tasting session.
Repeat as necessary until you've tasted all the varieties on offer. Chances are that you will fall in love with one of them (or even several of them) and might want to buy a few bottles to take home. Once home, you can impress your friends and family with your knowledge about this particular drop… just remember to swallow it, instead of spitting it out!