How Does a Wine Tasting Work?


how does a wine tasting work

Interested in trying out a wine tasting, but not sure where to begin? Visiting a winery for your first tasting can be a little intimidating and guests have lots of questions regarding etiquette and what to expect during the tasting. The team at Olsen Run Winery have put together this wine tasting guide to answer the most important questions you may have.

Visiting a winery for a tasting can be a fun group outing that allows you to taste local wines and experience

What is a Wine Tasting?
A wine tasting is a trip to a winery where you experience various types of wines in small amounts. It allows visitors to savor small amounts of different types of wines in a single afternoon. Wine tastings encourage you to pause and really appreciate the aroma and flavors of wine.

Wine Tasting Tips

Drink on a Full Stomach
If you drink wine on an empty stomach you'll get drunk very quickly. Wine tasting events can last between one and several hours so it could be awhile before you get anything to eat. Plan ahead and either have a meal before the wine tasting, or bring snacks with you to munch on during the event. A full stomach will help absorb some of the alcohol and prevent you from being too buzzed to complete the tasting.
At Olsen Run Winery we can make you a cheeseburger, loaded fries, a chicken sandwich or several other quick lunch options. Feel free to grab something to eat before or during a tasting with us.

Stay Hydrated
A sip of water between wines doesn't just wash the palate in preparation for the next wine, it also helps you stay hydrated. Hydration is especially important if you're travelling around a large vineyard for a tasting. The combination of alcohol, warm weather, and physical exercise can be taxing, so keep water at the ready.
Spitting is Appreciated
Many people wonder: Are you supposed to swallow the wine at a wine tasting? Wine tastings are the one time where it's considered good manners to spit. Wine connoisseurs typically get a mouthful of wine, swish it around, and after appreciating the flavor, spit the wine out into a spittoon. It's completely optional, and if you prefer to swallow the wine after tasting it, that's fine as well. Just keep in mind that after a long day of wine tasting without spitting any of it out, you may have ingested a decent amount of wine. Before spitting make sure you're aimed directly above the spittoon so you don't get any on the floor or your clothing.
Arrive with a Clean Palate
You experience wine through both taste and smell; which means other aromas and flavors can compete with the wine. Strong scents like perfume, cologne, or aftershave can inhibit your ability to "nose" the wine, and strong food flavors like onions will interfere with the wine's flavor. Eating before a tasting is fine, just be sure to skip any spicy foods or any flavors that may overwhelm your palate just before the tasting. More importantly, skip any fragrances that will interfere not just with your own tasting experience, but potentially those around you. 
Gum, candy, and toothpaste may normally help reset your mouth after a meal, but these flavors will also interfere with a wine tasting. Be sure to brush long before you arrive at the tasting, and skip the gum and peppermints or you may wind up with a mouthful of peppermint-flavored Chardonnay!
Pack a Bag
Some winery tours that include multiple stops are akin to a day at the beach, with lots of walking, sunshine, and long stretches outdoors. Plan accordingly and bring necessities like water, sunscreen, sunglasses, and headwear. Wear light clothing and comfortable shoes as a full day of wine tasting can have you on your feet for hours.
How Do you Taste Wine?
1. Look - Hold the wine up to the light and view the color. With experience, the examination of the wine's color can tell you about how it was prepared and aged. 
2. Swirl & Smell - Softly make small rotations with your wrist to swirl the wine around in the glass. This will help activate the aroma. Now hold the glass up to your nose, and breathe in the smell of the wine. What flavors do you detect? Almonds, nuts, vanilla, tobacco? The "notes" of each specific wine can tell you information about how and where it was created.
3. Taste - Now to the most important step! Take a small sip of the wine and softly swirl it around your mouth, coating the taste buds on your tongue. After a few moments of tasting the wine you can swallow it or spit it out. 
4. Contemplate - Now it's time for your evaluation of the wine. What types of flavors did you experience (sweet, acidic, earthy)? What did those flavors remind you of? Did the taste stay with you or quickly disappear? There's no right or wrong answer, and as you taste more wine you'll notice smaller differences between them.