Tasting Room Etiquette Tips From The Wine Wench® – For Visitors

Want to have a great time when you go wine tasting? Here are a few tried-and-true tips from someone who has been working behind tasting room counters for over 30 years. Fasten your seatbelt – here we go!

Don’t be afraid to ask questions.
Wine tasting should be fun and you should feel like you are visiting with friends, so if you have a question, ask away! It doesn’t matter if you mispronounce the wine or don’t know who Robert Parker is. Ask away! I can tell you firsthand that I’d much rather gently educate wine newbies than listen to some arrogant, self-proclaimed “connoisseur” drone on about what he has in his cellar. Yawn.

Have fun!
The tasting bar may turn into a party at any time. Case in point – I was working the bar a couple of weeks ago and had some really fun customers. One of them started talking in a New York Jewish accent and I joined in. Before I knew it, everyone in the bar was talking like Fran Drescher. Oy vey, what a day!
I have been known to play harmonica and sing for my tasting room visitors. If you track me down and ask me, I’ll do a tune or two for you. Don’t worry, I’m a professional.

Speaking of Jewish moms…
Start the day with a good breakfast, bubbala. You’re gonna need it to soak up the alcohol. Also, drink lots of water throughout the day. A good rule of thumb is to drink one glass of water per glass of wine. You’ll thank me later. Or not.

Share the bar
If the bar is crowded, please get your taste and step aside so others may enjoy the wine and conversation.

About dogs and kids…
Many wineries are dog and kid friendly, but please keep your dog under your control. The same goes with kids – if your toddler is running amok in the tasting room while you are sipping away, it’s just all kinds of bad. We will give your child caffeine, sugar and a free puppy if left unsupervised (just kidding about that last bit).

Do not wear scented products or smoke any kind of cigarettes while wine tasting.
You may love your Chanel No. 5, but the wine doesn’t.
This may bite me in the butt, but I think cigars have no place anywhere near a tasting room. Gack.

Don’t chomp on gum whole wine tasting.
It looks weird and interferes with the flavors of the wine.

Ladies, please do not spackle on lipstick while wine tasting!
It interferes with the wine’s flavors, gets all over the glasses and makes us hate you after you leave.

Please call ahead if there are more than six people in your group.
If you just show up en masse without advance notice, we will secretly hate you. Would you do that at a friend’s house?

Leave the bagpipes at home.
I actually had a group come in to a winery event with a bagpiper. Not good.

And last but not least, please drink responsibly.
It gets really awkward when we have to cut people off. We hate it. If you get into an accident after leaving our winery, we are responsible. Even if you are in a limo, we are legally obligated to stop serving intoxicated visitors.

Please feel free to contact me with questions or comments!


Sue Straight
The Wine Wench®