Guy Downes
March 28, 2011 | Wine | Guy Downes

Wine Tasting Etiquette

Whether you’re new to the world of wine or a seasoned sipper, wine tasting etiquette is something you need to know, but nothing to be worried about. If you follow a few simple rules even the newest of wine tasters among you can look like you know what you’re doing. Here at Bourassa we believe wine tasting should always be about enjoyment and everyone being as comfortable as possible. Whether you’re visiting our beautiful tasting room here in Napa or throwing your own party, by following these three tips you will relax and get the most out your wine tasting.

Tip 1 – Don’t hog the wine
If you are at a tasting where bottles are on the table for you and other tasters to enjoy remember not to hog the wine. If you’ve sipped something really delicious you might be tempted to go back for a second, or even third glass but you should always make sure everyone has had the opportunity to enjoy the wine. If you’re in a group tasting situation and someone doesn’t share, it gets noticed. The best tastings are when everyone shares the wines and all opinions are considered equal. 

Tip 2 – Appreciate the wine you taste
Whether you taste a bottle worth $10 or $100, always respect the wine and the care and attention that has gone into making it. Giving wines of all values and varieties respect honors either the winemaker at a tasting room or the guest that brought the wine at a wine tasting party. It’s also not the most attractive sight to see someone ‘chugging’ wine, so take your time giving yourself ample opportunity to appreciate the wine’s characteristics.

Tip 3 – Spit buckets
People attending their first wine tastings are often confused by spit buckets, asking themselves how such a refined and classy activity can involve spitting wine into a bucket. In actual fact spit buckets are a completely accepted part of wine tasting etiquette at tasting rooms and private parties all over the world. You may be surprised to know that in some cellars, winemakers often spit onto the floor when they taste wines from the barrel! Of course one of the reasons spit buckets are used so much is to prevent anyone from feeling the alcoholic effects from tasting and consuming too much wine. You want to keep your senses sharp if you taste several different wines at one tasting. Some people will swallow a sip or two of their wine and then dump the rest of the glass into a bucket. Whatever your reason for using a spit bucket at a tasting do so in the knowledge that it is perfectly acceptable, just be sure to be on target!


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@ Jan 29, 2013 at 10:48 PM
Some sparkling wines can have a lower APV level. To be absolutely sure of the alcohol content, check the label. By law, the percentage of alcohol in the wine must be disclosed. Thanks a lot.

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@ Feb 4, 2013 at 2:07 AM
To start primary fermentation yeast may be added to the must for red wine or may occur naturally as ambient yeast on the grapes or in the air. Yeast may be added to the juice for white wine. Thanks.

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