Memorial Day weekend is upon us, which means summer is right around the corner. And that means tasting rooms at wineries across the country will be buzzing.
If you’re not familiar with the tasting room experience… or even if you are… we have a few tips to cure any cases of intimidation and to help you get the most out of your visit.
- Know that most tasting rooms charge a fee for tasting.
The fee can range from a few dollars at wineries in lesser known regions to a much higher amount at many estates in the Napa Valley. Some wineries include a souvenir logo glass in the fee, and some will waive the fee if you buy a bottle or a make a purchase of a minimum dollar amount.
- Those buckets are there for a reason.
Some wineries pour samples of several wines, making it easy to over-imbibe if you aren’t careful. The buckets are provided so you may swish each sample around your mouth, experience its flavor, and then spit it out. You also may use them to pour out leftover wine from your glass. The tasting room personnel will not be insulted.
- Ask questions.
Especially if you’re visiting a small winery where the owner and/or winemaker also staffs the tasting room, they’ll be happy to talk to you about their wines. It’s much like a parent talking about their children. Just as important, listen to the answers; they may provide clues about the wines you’ll want to try and perhaps take home.
- Be polite.
Ask for a second pour of a specific wine only if you’re really giving strong consideration to buying a bottle.
- Don’t show off.
Some tasting room visitors try to impress their hosts by using a lot of “winespeak.” Trust us, they’ve heard it all, and they won’t be impressed. Just be friendly. Remember, you may be potential customer, but you’re also a guest.