How to Prepare for Your First Wine Tasting

Apr 06, 2013 2 Comments by

I have a few single friends and I’m about to organise a wine Plate of sushi at restaurant, wine, photo credit Sarah James, DAting Symbol blogand cheese night as a way of getting together, mingling and having a bit of fun, so this is timely for wine tasting…

Going to your first wine tasting event, or putting one on yourself, can be very daunting. How should you ideally prepare, and what are some of the key things that you should focus on? At the same time, how can you incorporate food, and how should you deal with issues like a dress code?

These, and other factors, are important to consider as you prepare for your first wine tasting.

In terms of putting together a wine tasting, you should think carefully about the kind of environment that you want to establish – if holding a tasting in your home, make sure that a room is cleared out and decorated with a tablecloth and enough chairs. Remove any intrusive smells like cooking, air fresheners, or pets, as this will spoil the wine tasting. It’s also worth having a good selection of glasses, as well as spittoons or paper cups for guests that want to spit out their wine after tasting.

You can also design a wine tasting event around consistent themes that can tie together your offerings – this might be linked into a wine growing region like Bordeaux, or may be focused on a single vintage from a particular year. It’s worth advising guests on what kind of structure a wine tasting will take beforehand, so they know what to expect. It’s possible to provide food, but with a focus on not interfering with the taste of the wine. Go for unsalted biscuits and crackers, as well as light cheese – food should work more as a palette cleanser than as anything heavier.

If serving white wine, make sure it’s taken out of the fridge about an hour or so before an event starts, as this will allow it to warm up. Having a room set at a mild temperature will also help to bring out the flavour of wines. A few ice buckets around a room can make it easier to control temperatures if the event is going on for a while. While tasting wines, make sure to follow a general structure – appearance, smell, taste, and overall impressions. Provide paper for guests to make their own notes for a comparison at the end of the day.

In terms of other details, you can choose to have a dress code, Friends toasting, wine,  DAting Symbol blog Hong Kong, China --- Friends toasting, wine,  DAting Symbol blog Hong Kong, China --- Friends toasting --- Image by © Lisa B./Corbis, Friends toasting --- Image by © Lisa B./Corbisdepending on how formal or casual you want to; this should always be specified in an invitation. It can also be a good idea to read up on particular wines before a tasting. Moreover, you should ensure that guests don’t drink too much; laying out some ground rules before wine tasting begins should allow this to not be a problem.

For anyone that’s going to their first wine tasting, remember to exercise some common sense; make use of spitting cups and spittoons, and avoid wearing strong perfume or aftershave. Similarly, avoid smoking, as this will prevent you from being able to make an effective tasting. When correctly put together, a wine tasting can be a great social occasion, but shouldn’t be too formal – make sure that everyone gets to have their say on the wine, and use it as an opportunity to improve your knowledge for the future.

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2 Responses to “How to Prepare for Your First Wine Tasting”

  1. Jayla Barnsen says:

    This is great! I would also recommend getting one or two bottles of something sweeter, like a dry Reisling, that guests who are not regular wine drinkers will be able to enjoy and use as a gateway to some of the other bottles.

  2. Teresa says:

    I belonged to a wine group that believed in taking the mystique and snobbery out of the industry. It used to be poo-poo’d to like sweet wine but their motto was “it’s ok to like what you like. ” I’m now seeing classier brands labeled as “sweet wine.”

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