Many people think that wine tasting is an expensive luxury only for tourists in Napa Valley. In truth, wine tasting can be quite affordable and there may be a place in your own backyard where you can enjoy a different lineup of wines each month. Wine tasting does involve a certain etiquette, but once you figure out the rules and find a few good places for wine tasting, you’re on your way to a fun and educational hobby!
Wine Tasting Overview
The best thing about wine tasting is that you don’t have to be an expert to enjoy wine tasting, and no one will look at you any differently if you don’t know anything about wines. In fact, most people who give wine tastings are more than happy to tell you everything you want to know about their wines and then some. When you walk into a winery or wine bar to do a tasting, take a minute to look over the tasting menu and ask how it works at this particular establishment. Every place does it a bit differently.
There are some places that offer tastes of several wines for a set price, and some that allow you to choose a number of wines from a list of what they have open. Quite a few wineries offer other services, as well, such as wine and cheese pairings, or wines paired with appetizers or meals. Some even offer wine flights - three or four larger servings of similar wines - instead of wine tastings. Ask about all of your options, and then decide what is best for you. Usually, you can’t go wrong.
When tasting the wine, you can absolutely take notes. Most wineries will provide you with a menu or brochure you can write on. When you’re trying seven or eight different wines, it can be difficult to remember which ones you liked and which ones you didn’t. Write it down! That way, you can come back later and buy a bottle of that one you really loved.
If you don’t like a certain wine, don’t worry. You can always dump it out. Most places will provide you with a dump bucket, but if they don’t, you can ask them to dispose of the taste for you.
Costs and Locations
A typical wine tasting can be anywhere between free and around $20 per person. Several places allow patrons to taste wines for free as long as they buy a bottle or two of wine. Many places charge for the tasting, and almost all of them charge for flights and food pairings. Food pairings with your wine will be more expensive because you are paying for the food, as well.
Wine tastings are held in all sorts of places. You can find them at wineries and wine bars, as well as some liquor stores and wine stores. Before you go to your corner liquor store looking for a wine tasting, though, be sure you call or check a website first. Sometimes stores and wineries only offer tastings to the public on certain days or during certain times.
Wineries Vs. Wine Bars
The difference between wineries and wine bars can be confusing at first, especially since they both have wine and they both offer tastings. Wineries are places where wine is made. Some wineries are attached to a vineyard, where the grapes are grown, and some have their grapes delivered from other places. Wineries usually serve only wine they have produced and sometimes food if there is a functioning kitchen. Wine bars are just what they sound like: bars that serve mostly wine. Wine bars often also function as a restaurant, and they serve many wines from many different wineries, as well as beer and other liquor. Where you choose to go will largely depend on your mood and the type of atmosphere you desire.