Whether you hire a tour guide or brave wine country on your own, here are a few tips that will help you make the most of your experience:
- Do not wear perfume or fragrances while tasting wine. Smell is such a huge factor in how a wine is perceived and you’ll want to save all of those olfactory receptors for the lovely wines you will taste. Visit the Washington Wine Tours blog for wine tour attire.
- You will be given “tastes” of wine. The pour that you get may vary from winery to winery – some giving you more than others (and possibly more than you want). The wineries will not be offended if you either spit or dump-out wine. No one at the winery will put you on the spot if you do not consume the wine. You may also opt out of tasting a particular wine if it’s not your thing (although I highly recommend that you taste all types of wine since one type can differ in style from one winery to another).
- Do not be afraid to ask questions. Winemakers LOVE to tell you about their wine. No question is a stupid question and learning adds so much to the wine drinking experience.
- If you find a wine that you especially like, buy it from the winery! If you like it and you know you’re going to buy it, then why not directly from the people who make it? Plus it’s a great token of your wine excursion and it gives you a way to share the experience with friends when you return home.
- Chewing mints or gum will definitely affect the taste of wine – and not for the better!
- Drink lots of water between tasting wines. Staying hydrated is the key to avoiding hangovers. You’ll thank yourself in the morning! Also, be sure to eat along the way at some point. The less food you eat, the more quickly you will become intoxicated.
- Take a note pad to make tasting notes. You can get something as simple as a spiral notebook. It’s always good to write down your perception of the wine you tasted as you taste it (and when you still remember). It can be used as a handy reference when you are heading to the wine store to make a purchase at a later time.
- Taste only at the wineries and not in the vehicle between wineries. Washington State law prohibits wineries from allowing alcoholic beverages other than the wine they produce to be consumed on their premises, including in their parking lots. Also, the wineries are required by law to refuse to serve any one who appears intoxicated. The goal of tasting wines is to expose you to great wine and help acquaint you with a particular winemaker’s style, not get you drunk.
- Always, always, always take along a designated driver. Washington State has strict DUI laws and it’s just not worth it to take chances.
- Lastly, enjoy yourself. Exploring wineries should be a very fun experience. Try wineries you have never been to and some that you’ve never even heard of. You just never know the adventures you might have! Search our Winery Regions page for new wineries to visit.
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