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Tasting room etiquette – how to survive the rituals of the tasting room

Winery Tasting Room Guide – Etiquette for survinng the rituals of the tasting room

The tasting room guide contains all you need to know to survive the rituals of the tasting room. Look calm and relaxed like a veteran wine taster. We have visited as many as 1000 tasting rooms over 45 years of traveling to the wine country. Learn what to do and not do in the tasting room.  Our quick guide to tasting room etiquette.

Looking good in the tasting room

  • Does a tasting room except walk-ins or do you need to have a reservation? Do your homework beforehand.
  • Enter the tasting room and survey the situation. Head to the spot where everyone is tasting.
  • A host will greet you and get you started with wine glasses and explain what wines are available for tasting and explain the  tasting fees and different choices for sipping wine.
  • Tasting rooms vary from the very elaborate to a simple table set up in the winemaking area. 
  • White wines are tasted first, followed by red wines, and then dessert wines.
  • Taste each wine carefully and savor each sip. See our guide on how to taste wine.
  • Most wineries will have a sheet of tasting notes. Read the tasting notes as you sip the wine and see if you notice any of the aromas or flavors described in the notes.
  • Skipping any of the wines on the tasting list is okay. Some people ] want to taste the reds only. Some may be interested in tasting only specific varietals of wine.
  • Usually, you would not ask for a second taste of one particular wine unless you indicate that you are interested in purchasing the wine.

  • You do not have to drink all the wine in your glass. Toss the unwanted wine in your glass into the dump bucket provided for this purpose.
  • The host suggests a rinse for your glass, that means the host will pour a small amount of the next wine into your glass.  It is called a “Rinse.” Swirl the wine and empty into the dump bucket.
  • Sometimes a neutral food will be provided, such as plain crackers. The purpose of the food is to clear the palate after tasting each particular wine.
  • It is usually okay for two people to share one glass and pay only one tasting fee.
  • Finally, whatever you do, do not act like a wine snob.
Tasting Room Etiquette
Tasting Room Etiquette