Wine Tasting Tips

Read these 13 Wine Tasting Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Wines tips and hundreds of other topics.

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How can I keep learning about wine?

Want to learn more about wine? Keep tasting.

In New York, I attended a class a tasting given by Master Sommelier Andrea Immer. After the class, she autographed my copy of her book "Great Wine Made Simple" by writing "tasting is the best way to learn about wine. So enjoy your 'studies'." This is sound advice -- no book, magazine, TV show or website can substitute for getting your hands on lots of different kinds of bottles and trying them -- with and without food. Start a monthly wine club with some friends: pick a theme, and have everyone bring a bottle of wine and some light appetizer fare to pair with it. There is a handy tasting sheet on my website (www.trywine.net) that you can download and print out so everyone can jot down their impressions of the wines.

   
How do I host a wine tasting party?

Host a Wine Tasting Party

Itching to try new wines with a bunch of friends? Want to host a unique party that will have your friends talking for weeks? Then think about hosting a wine tasting party. There are several ways to do this. You can either hire professionals to come into your home to run the whole event or you can do everything yourself. Here are some helpful hints for either way. Hiring professionals: There are companies that send wine consultants into your home to school your friends about tasting wine, wine terminology and wine accessories. They bring the wine, pass out score cards, talk about each bottle and answer questions. After that, they take wine orders for those who'd like to buy. Often, hosts get special rewards for throwing the party. For example, free shipping, a free wine accessory or a percentage off their order. Do it yourself: Send out invitations to your wine tasting party and ask guests to bring a bottle of wine. It's best to stay in one theme. For example, stick to Cabernets or Chardonnays or Italian wines. When the guests arrive, bag the wines so they can't be seen and number them. As your guests go about the room tasting, they have a score sheet where they mark down what they think. The person who brought the wine most people enjoy wins a prize (perhaps a bottle of wine). As with the first option, supply light appetizers such as cheese and crackers so guests can clean their palates.

   
What is a horizontal wine tasting?

Horizontal and Vertical Wine Tastings

So you just received an invitation to a wine tasting party and it says it's a "horizontal wine tasting." You blankly think about sunsets on the horizon, wondering how this pertains to wine. Keep reading to find the three basic structures of a wine tasting event: general, horizontal and vertical. General tasting: this is a free-for-all wine tasting in which you make up your own rules. There are no real limitations on the wines that you involve. You may choose to limit the wines to those from a particular part of the world, or grape variety, or price range or whatever other criteria that you select. Horizontal tasting - involves wines that all come from the same vintage. You decide the vintage and you determine if you are going to place any other limitations on the wines involved. Vertical tasting - involves wines from different vintages but all the wines will come from the same winery. If the winery produces more than one type of wine, you would select a single wine from that winery and taste multiple vintages of that wine. Experts recommend using a minimum of three wines and ideally up to six wines for an interesting wine tasting.

   
How can I make mulled wine?

Recipe for mulled wine

To enjoy this winter warmer, take a bottle of inexpensive red table wine (like a fruity Spanish Rioja,) and add cinnamon sticks, cloves, nutmeg, sugar, and orange slices. Let the wine simmer (do NOT let it boil), and then serve it in mugs garnished with cinnamon sticks. Look for inexpensive Riojas from producers Marques de Caceres and Montecillo.

   
How can I keep track of wines that I like?

How to keep track of the wines you like

There is nothing worse than falling in love with a wine, and then forgetting what it was called (or even where it was produced), the next time you look for it at your local wine store. Whether you use a wine journal or a spiral notebook, when you taste something you enjoy, take a moment to note the producer, winery and your overall impression (aromas, flavors, finish, the food with which it was enjoyed.) And, don't forget the vintage if one is listed--some wines can vary greatly from year to year. If you prefer the high tech route, buy software for your PDA to store your wine preferences, or use your cell phone (the notepad feature, or even the voice recorder.)

   
What shouldn't I do before a wine tasting?

Bad Behavior Before Wine Tasting

There are some things you just shouldn't do before a wine tasting event. That's because they will alter your taste buds, sense of smell and ruin the experience for you. They are: 1. Smoking cigarettes 2. Sucking on sweet candies 3. Putting on perfume or cologne 4. Using aftershave lotion 5. Using scented hair spray or gel 6. Applying cosmetics such as lipstick 7. Chewing gum 8. Sucking on breath mints So do yourself a favor - hold off on these things until after the wine tasting event. Your senses will thank you for it.

   
Where can I find great wine events in my city?

Search Your City for Free Wine Tasting Events

Tired of doing the same thing every Friday night? Is your budget low but you and your sweetie still want to get out and do something exciting and educational? By far the best place to learn about what wine events and places where local people are tasting wine is the Web site localwineevents.com. It's where wine experts and novices alike go to find tastings, festivals and any other wine event you can think of.

   
How does one taste wine?

Three times a charm

Trying a new wine for the first time? Don't like it very much? Don't give up on the first sip. Try, try again. Wine is a living thing. Air, light and temperature all affect the wine's taste. Wine takes time to balance itself out after a bottle has been open and then again after it has been poured into the glass. By the third sip, you will probably get the "true" reading of how the wine tastes and feels in our mouth. You may be surprised!

   
Where are some places in California where I can taste wine?

California Wine Tastings

California wines represented a 63 percent share of the U.S. wine market in 2005, which means about two of every three bottles sold in the U.S. were from California. Therefore, it's no surprise that wine lovers from around the world routinely descend upon California vineyards for wine tastings and tours. Here are a few places in California that are sure to please: A Temecula wine tasting: Fourteen award-winning wineries flourish in Temecula Valley, offering their delicious, locally made wines at affordable prices. In addition to producing excellent Chardonnay, Merlot and Sauvignon Blanc, Temecula wineries are known for Mediterranean varietals such as Viognier, Syrah and Pinot Gris. The success of these wines has resulted in numerous awards at domestic and international wines competitions and recognition for Temecula as a world-class wine growing region. Napa Valley: Several hundred wineries call Napa home and many are open to the public (some by appointment only). No matter your taste, you can find several wineries at which to explore and learn about wine - from large, world-famous wineries to small, family-owned hands-on wineries. Sonoma County: From casual tastings, education seminars and formal events, Sonoma County has plenty of wine events. But it also has non-wine related adventures which include golf, biking, hot air ballooning, horseback riding in the vineyards, kayaking on the Russian river and whale watching along the Pacific Coast. An African wildlife safari preserve offers tours and a unique venue for groups.

   
What should I do at a vineyard tasting room?

What to do at a Vineyard Tasting

If you plan to travel to a winery or vineyard for a wine tasting, keep these things in mind so you can get the most out of your wine tasting experience: Hours of operation: be sure to check and see if the winery you are visiting will be open before you make your long drive. Many are open only on weekends. Tasting room: a tasting room is designed to host visitors, display wines and allow you to taste them. You should taste the wines in this order: dry, red, sweet. Drinking sweet wines first will ruin your taste buds for the drier wines. Spit: when you finish tasting, spit your wine into the provided bucket. It's considered proper. Experiment: try wines you've never tasted before. This is why you are here. Ask questions: Ask which wines the winery is particularly noted for. Show a curiosity for wine. After all, that is why you are there.

   
Should I spit when I'm tasting wine?

To Spit or Not to Spit?

If you're wondering whether you should spit at your next wine tasting event, the answer is yes. While spitting is considered a rude behavior in most situations, it is proper and quite necessary at wine tasting events. Without spitting, your body will likely get intoxicated from the taste and smell of several wines in a row and you'll never last the day. However, there are spitting rules you should follow to ensure that even in a place where spitting is allowed, you aren't being rude. 1. Never try and spit across another person. 2. Stop conversation with a person who has a mouthful of wine. Let them analyze and focus on the wine, which is why they are there. 3. When you finish tasting the wine, spit in a single jet stream line in the spittoon through pursed lips. 4. When you're finished spitting, there should be no drips on the floor or countertop.

   
Should I write down my wine tasting experiences?

Journal Your Wine Tasting Experiences

Wine journals are a great idea. Favorite wines from faraway travels can be remembered and documented for future reference. Here are some questions you should jot down when tasting wine. By gathering your thoughts on paper you'll be able to remember which you liked, which you didn't, and why. And without this knowledge, what's the point of tasting at all? Ask yourself: 1. Was the wine worth the money? 2. Did you like the wine and why? 3. Did the characteristics fit the type of wine? 4. Was it balanced? Wine journals provide you with an attractive place to organize your thoughts when tasting wine. Use a small book you buy at the convenient store or buy an actual wine journal which provides pockets for labels. If you like collecting labels, consider buying a label lifter, which is is a tool that adheres to the label on the bottle, then peels the wine label (stuck to the label lifter) off.

   
Why do people swish wine in their mouths before swallowing?

Why Should You Swish?

Why swish wine in your mouth before swallowing when tasting wine? While some mistakenly think that certain regions on the tongue detect specific flavors, this simply isn't true. All taste buds are capable of detecting sweet, sour, bitter and salty flavors. So, "swishing" makes the most of your taste buds and allows all of your taste buds (and your sense of smell) to participate in the detection of the finer flavors of the wine.

   
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Joe Wallace