• Catarina Alexon

    My late father was a connoisseur du vin and so is my brother. Imagine their surprise when I, twenty years old, was at a wine tasting and ended up in the finals:-)

    • Scottmhuntington

      That’s pretty cool, Catarina! (I’m assuming you live somewhere that doesn’t require you to be 21 to drink!).

  • Jacqueline Gum

    I’ve had the unfortunate experience of: A wine tasting with unruly children present: I understand the the winery had few option, but it made for a very unsettling experience. And after a few tasting where a “few too many” turned into raucous behavior, I started doing tasting with wither a group I know, or if there are only a few of us, by booking a private tasting. Personally, I think wineries that book large tastings should send this post out prior to a guest’s arrival 🙂

    • Scottmhuntington

      Doing a private tasting/tour with a large group is almost always the best way to go. However, sometimes the group thinks they can now act crazy in private. One of my worst experiences was giving a group of 40-something year old women a private tasting for a “bachelorette party.” The moment I walked in they started hooting and hollering and one yelled “take off your shirt!” If a room full of guys would have done that to a girl it would be considered sexual harassment, but somehow these ladies thought it was just fine. (That’s an entirely different topic!). They didn’t listen to a thing I said, so I gave them their tasting as quickly as I could and got out of there.

  • Thanks for spreading the word on Wine Tasting etiquette. Should be common sense but obviously not. I have a cantankerous theory that every adult should spend a little time serving alcohol in order to become licensed to consume it.

    • Scottmhuntington

      That’s a great theory, Paul! It’s really opened my eyes up, that’s for sure.

  • Cheryl Therrien

    You would think these would be a duh… But I can see how some people might need to be reminded. Good manners and common sense can be in short supply for some.

    • Scottmhuntington

      A lot of people that are doing a tasting for the first time have no idea what to expect. I’ve seen people take it way too seriously, and other people treat it like they’re at a college bar!

  • Debra Yearwood

    Great tips, there’s nothing quite as unappealing as rogue children and drunk patrons to ruin what would otherwise be a great visit to a vineyard. 🙂

    • Scottmhuntington

      I always felt bad when it would ruin the experience for people around them. We shouldn’t be the ones to have to babysit your children. We had a parent yell at the tasting room manager because the manager told their kid not to climb on the 8 foot wall.

      • Debra Yearwood

        Wow…class act all the way. You can assume she would have also sued you if little Johnny had fallen off of that wall.

        • Scottmhuntington

          Exactly!

  • Really good to hear things from the other side as it were. I think perhaps people are silent sometimes , because they don’t know what to say. I can find it intimidating as my knowledge of wine is passable but not vast. So the “wine club’ atmosphere can also be intimidating for a customer. That said , the last time I went to a winery I thought what a rough job the sommelier had. Thanks for the tips.

    • Scottmhuntington

      Wineries are all so different… there are some that are overly-serious intimidating, making it tough to ask questions. Then there are others that have pink flamingos everywhere and give out leis and stickers. I prefer something in between!

  • Jeri Walker-Bickett

    My interest in wine got started because a former sommelier from NYC was working at Flamingo Restaurant in the Everglades when I worked there years ago. He took the time to train the staff without being snooty about it. Wine tasting too often can give people that impression, but it’s because they don’t know all the etiquette. Also, the one burning image I have ingrained in my mind is the scene from Sideways where Miles grabs the spittoon and drinks it down 😉 Like all things in life, a person should never be afraid to ask questions. It’s amazing how helpful and gracious most people will be with their explanations.

    • Scottmhuntington

      That’s a great point about asking questions. I think a lot of people who came in didn’t want to “look stupid” or seem like they didn’t know what they were talking about. It was always funny to see the ones who tried to fake it to impress others around them.. never quiet worked!

  • Great wine-tasting tips! Thanks, Scott. Definitely agree that a tasting room is not a place for children. I like to think and ponder when I’m tasting and having children running around or chattering really does disrupt the process.

    • Scottmhuntington

      Thanks Doreen. Every once in awhile it can be ok to have children there if they behave themselves. When they don’t, that’s another story!

  • There should be a guideline given out at each winery. Like “Welcome to ____” inside “Wine Tasting Etiquette”. Some folks just don’t get how to act in a social setting that is not their own home. Same kind of people that think their “little angels” running around in a restaurant is okay…no it is NOT, they are obnoxious little brats whom you have never taught manners to.

    One think that wine tasters should follow is that if they really don’t like the wine, that it is okay to dump it in the bucket. Better to do that than throw up later by drinking far too much.

    Nice to really know what the wine server is thinking.

    Mary

    • Scottmhuntington

      That’s a great idea, Mary! And I agree about how it’s ok to dump it in the bucket. It always amazes me how many people say they don’t like a wine and then they continue to drink the rest of the sample. I even tell them ahead of time that everyone’s tastes are different and I won’t be offended if they need to dump something out.

  • This is a great primer for someone going on their first wine-tasting and for the totally clueless (unfortunately, by definition, you don’t know who you are).

    • Scottmhuntington

      Haha yeah, if we could just get those people to read it now!

  • I’ve been to many wine tasting events, especially when I lived on the Finger Lake region in N.Y. Thank goodness there weren’t any children allowed! That would drive me crazy.
    I’ve seen people who had no tact at all saying “Yuck” and I thought to myself, why are they even there? And those over-drinkers…I don’t know why they do it.
    Wine tasting is like going to a symphony. It is something to be enjoyed without a person like the woman above tapping her keys on the counter.
    -Donna

    • Scottmhuntington

      “Wine tasting is like going to a symphony” – nice!

  • Donna Janke

    Great tips for wine tasting etiquette. I’ve enjoyed conversations during wine tasting and always learned something from the server.

    • Scottmhuntington

      That’s good, Donna! Too many people act like they already know it all, or try to seem smarter than the server. It’s not a competition!

  • Hola Backgrinder

    Do enjoy the wine, don’t pee in the parking lot. Simple rules to live by, right? You raise a great point about being polite about the wines you don’t enjoy, I think people are trained to make pretty blunt assessments about things being good or bad in cases where they are really talking about a simple personal preference.

    • Scottmhuntington

      Yeah there’s a way to say you don’t care for it without insulting anyone. However, there are too many people that just make faces or awful comments.

  • Great tips! Especially about being loud. There are so many times my husband and I have gone out to dinner and sat next to “The Loud Family” – it is obnoxious. I have been wine tasting only once because I don’t like red wine, and too many sulfites give me an immediate headache. Many of my friends regularly go to wine country and have a blast – I wish I could be one of them. Wonderful advice for the newbie to wine tasting, especially about the early months of the year. Who wouldn’t want more attention? Nice post.

    • Thanks Laurie, There is nothing more annoying or disturbing then a noisy group that doesn’t seen to care about the effect they are having on others around them. It’s too bad about the red wine, there are some great whites out there to try, just a thought. 😀

    • Scottmhuntington

      Thanks Laurie! I recommend going wine tasting as much as possible, even if it’s just the white wines.

  • Jacs Henderson

    really enjoyed those tips – it sounds like a fun trip with a group of friends (and mine are all over 21!) and something I must do – considering I love wine, I can’t believe I’ve never done it!
    I imagine you have many more stories to tell – judging by the ones you told here 😉 Like any business, people come as a mixed bunch … and it is surprising how some have no sense of etiquette or discretion when it comes to their words and actions.
    fabulous information Scott 🙂
    Jacs

    • Thanks Jacs, Scott did a very nice job of explaining the in’s and out’s of it all. It truly is amazing what you’ll see when you’re at a tasting room… LOL. If you’ve never been on a tasting tour, then you’re in for a treat. 🙂

      • Jacs Henderson

        can’t wait to do one 🙂

    • Scottmhuntington

      Thanks Jacs! Yes, there are plenty of stories… like the time someone came in with a license that said she has one of those things you blow into on her car… She grabbed a bottle and started pouring herself a sample! Yikes.

      • Jacs Henderson

        🙂

  • drericagoodstone

    I’ve gone to several wine tasting here in South Florida. It can actually be dangerous because if a cop stops you, that could lead to a DUI. I’ve also been to wine country out west/Sonoma County. That’s a whole different experience.

    • Scottmhuntington

      We have to be very careful to watch for that. As crazy as it may sound, if someone gets in trouble for a DUI, the winery that served them will be in even more trouble. Even if they were of age, went bought several bottles of wine, and opened/drank them on their own without us knowing about it.

  • MinaJoshi5409

    I love trying out different wines when I am on holiday in Europe. The people are really friendly and they sell wines in really fantastic looking bottles. I must say, we did take our children with us and never gave a thought to the disturbance they must be causing for other people!!

    • Scottmhuntington

      Thanks for the comment Mina! Children can be fine if they’re behaving, just like at a nice restaurant. I bet you found some great wines over there!