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Tips for Your Wine Tasting Experience

 

Go tasting with a group

Everything tastes better when you’re in good company. If your group is 8 or more people, please see our FAQ about reserving a Group Tasting.

Transportation

Be safe and use a designated driver, cab/Uber/Lyft or limo service, e.g., Adam at The Getaway Driver or Amy at DiVine Wine Tours of Virginia.

Don't wear perfume or cologne that's overwhelming

Smell is a huge part of tasting. It's impossible to appreciate all the aromas of a delicate Riesling or a layered Cabernet Sauvignon when the air is heavy with perfume, cologne or smoke, so be mindful not to introduce any unwanted aromatics to the tasting area - it's just proper tasting room etiquette. You don't want to miss out on the nuances of the very wines you're trying to enjoy. And you don't want to be the answer to "What's that smell?"

Eat something

Tasting wines (and maybe drinking some too) on an empty stomach is a recipe for getting drunk quickly and not being able to enjoy the rest of your visit. Remember to eat beforehand, and if you wish, you can purchase food at the winery. (See our Charcuterie menu.) Since it will affect the taste of the wine, don't brush your teeth just before your visit.

Check what wines are available

Click here to see the list of wines we will be pouring at your tasting.

The five Ss of wine tasting

Some people feel intimidated at a winery tasting. Our staff is here to help with any questions you might have but the best way to taste wine is to remember the five Ss:

And remember, the bottom line is to find wines you like!

Taste all the wines

How you determine your likes and dislikes requires exposure to different wines. People will say they only like white wines and don't want to try a red wine. Not all wines are created equal. Our King's Ransom could be the one that changes your mind. It's a tasting - explore the unfamiliar.

You don't have to drink it all

You'll be tasting good wines, and no one likes to waste wine, but the tastings can add up. One-ounce pours of six wines equal a full glass of wine. And if you find it's not your "cup of tea", you won't offend us if you don't drink it. Either spit or pour it into one of the available buckets - that's why they're there. On spitting - it may not seem glamorous, but all the pros do it. Don't be shy, the staff is used to it. You might want to practice at home first - don't do it too hard or too slow and get close to the bucket.

Take notes

You may think you'll remember your likes and dislikes, but weeks later you'll be struggling to recall details. Use a system that makes sense to you, whether it's very elaborate or as simple as a plus or minus sign next to the wine on the tasting sheet. There are several apps available you can use on your smartphone, e.g., Wine & Spirit Education Trust's Tasting Notes app.

Talk to the staff

Wine can be more fun and memorable when you know the story behind the bottle. If you have any questions about styles, grapes, vintages or regions, the staff is a great resource. They'll want to answer your questions and make a connection - that's why they're there.

Red-wine teeth

It's an unfortunate side effect of the wine-tasting business that drinking red wine can sometimes stain your teeth. Brushing your teeth right after wine tasting can strip your teeth of protective enamel, so it's better to drink water and maybe chew some gum when you're done.

Have a good time

Some people get very serious when they're tasting wines but remember it's OK to smile and have a good time too. You're tasting wine, not in a high school class, and you will not be quizzed at the exit doors.