Ask Missa: Wine Tasting Etiquette
Written by Alyson Aiello on April 11, 2018
Wine tasting is a personal experience with Traveling Vineyard. When we come to your home, we focus on taking the stuffiness out of wine tasting, and making it fun! But, what about when you’re visiting a winery—what are the “rules” when it comes to wine tasting? In this edition of Ask Missa, we’re talking about wine tasting etiquette with our Director of Sommology, Missa Capozzo.
What is the typical serving size at a wine tasting?
Let’s start with how many ounces are in a bottle of wine. The standard answer is about 25 ounces. Typically, wineries will pour 1-2 oz. samples of the wines being tasted. Often, a tasting flight can include up to six different wines. Six tasting samples of 1 oz. each would be the equivalent of a 6-oz. glass of wine. The 1-2 oz. pour is a sufficient amount to take several sips of the wine, analyze its characteristics, and form a general, preliminary opinion of the wine.
I’m intimidated by the spit bucket. Is it necessary to spit wine out after tasting it?
Spitting is certainly not necessary when you are tasting wine for enjoyment or leisure. When you are tasting wine to study the wines, to prepare for blind tasting exams, or to assess whether wines meet your quality standards for sales purposes as part of your job, spitting absolutely becomes necessary. Wine professionals often taste 50 or more wines in one session. Not only do the tasters need to stay unaffected by the alcohol, but they needed to keep their senses sharp to be able to accurately assess each wine. [Editor’s Note: If you’re a taster, enjoy every ounce of that free wine!]
Let’s start with how many ounces are in a bottle of wine. The standard answer is about 25 ounces.
How do you cleanse your palate between tastings?
Cleansing the palate helps minimize fatigue and gives your palate a neutral platform from which to taste a new wine. Eating a small bite of something neutral, such as a plain cracker or bite of plain bread, will help to reset the taste buds. Many tasters choose to simply take a sip of water in between wines.
What is the typical tasting order for the six different wines—if the tasting is not fully guided as it is at a Traveling Vineyard tasting—how do I know where to start?
Typically speaking, the tasting order should look like this:
- sparkling wines (unless being used as a dessert wine)
- dry white
- off-dry white
- light-bodied red
- full-bodied red
- sweet dessert wines (Tokaj, Sauternes, etc.)
Extra tip: when tasting wines with noticeable age difference, it is recommended to taste young (simpler) wines before old (complex, age-able) wines, although there is a lot of room for interpretation.
For a truly guided tour of wine and wine tasting—complete with food pairing tips—Host a wine tasting at home with one of our Wine Guides. Connect with a Traveling Vineyard Wine Guide today!