THE DOS AND DON’TS OF PROPER WINE TAST­ING

Here’s ev­ery­thing you need to know, from how to hold the glass to how much you should be drink­ing

Montreal Gazette - - WEEKEND LIFE - ALEESHA HAR­RIS ahar­ris@post­media.com

How should you hold a wine glass? How many wine tastes are too many? And should you spit?

These are just a few of the ques­tions that might arise when pre­sented with the op­por­tu­nity to at­tend a wine tast­ing. And, you’re likely not alone.

Wine tast­ing is a won­der­ful way to sip, savour and learn about new wines and winer­ies.

But the ex­pe­ri­ences, which typ­i­cally in­clude tast­ing a va­ri­ety of wines in­clud­ing white, red and rose op­tions, can present a few sticky sit­u­a­tions, should one im­bibe too much.

So we asked Su­nita Padda, an eti­quette ex­pert and founder of the Van­cou­ver-based eti­quette coach­ing com­pany Ta­ble Smarts, to of­fer up her top tips and tricks to help you stay on track dur­ing a wine tast­ing.

Q What’s the No. 1 thing to re­mem­ber when it comes to eti­quette at a wine tast­ing ?

A Re­mem­ber that wine is to be en­joyed. Knock­ing back wine at a tast­ing sig­nals that you don’t know what you’re look­ing for. Wine should be swirled in your mouth in or­der to catch all the dif­fer­ent notes a par­tic­u­lar va­ri­ety has to of­fer. If this feels too in­ter­me­di­ate for you, ask the som­me­lier what you should be tast­ing for and have them guide you through the tast­ings.

Q How do you look like you know what you’re do­ing, even if you have no idea?

A Be con­fi­dent in what you know, but also hon­est with what you don’t know.

If you aren’t sure how to pronounce a par­tic­u­lar la­bel, or don’t know how to pair a wine, ask!

Be­ing open to learn­ing is a form of show­ing con­fi­dence.

This al­ways looks much more taste­ful than the al­ter­na­tive.

Q I’ve read you should hold the wine glass only by the stem. Is this true? And, if so, why?

A Yes, you al­ways want to hold the glass by its stem.

The rea­son for not hold­ing the glass by the bowl is be­cause the warmth from your hands can af­fect the tem­per­a­ture of the wine.

If you have any scents on your hand, from per­fumes or creams for ex­am­ple, that can also af­fect how you in­hale the dif­fer­ent notes in the wine.

Q Any tips to make sure you don’t go overboard with the tast­ings?

A In or­der to limit the risk of be­com­ing in­tox­i­cated dur­ing your wine tour, it is gen­er­ally en­cour­aged to make use of the spit pails once you have tasted wine on your pal­ette.

Don’t drool into the bucket, learn to swish it around in your mouth and then spit force­fully so that you aren’t left with any drib­ble.

It’s also a great idea to make sure to eat through­out your tours. Many winer­ies have well­rated restau­rants right on-site and stop­ping for lunch is a great idea. I rec­om­mend mak­ing a reser­va­tions ahead of time as these spots can fill up quickly dur­ing peak tourist sea­son.

Q Is it ever OK to ask for more wine?

A Al­ways be cautious of ap­pear­ing like you’re freeload­ing on tast­ings.

If you plan on pur­chas­ing wine from the win­ery then ask­ing for a sec­ond taste of the same wine is ap­pro­pri­ate. Also note that many winer­ies now charge for ad­di­tional tast­ings.

Q Lastly, is there a dress code for wine tast­ing that peo­ple should keep in mind?

A Your at­ti­tude and dress should re­flect the win­ery. Keep in mind, you’re not at a bar. Some winer­ies will have a se­ries of dif­fer­ent wines for you to taste in a so­cial walk-around lay­out, or, it may be more for­mal seated tast­ing, so be sure to do your re­search and dress ac­cord­ingly.

Su­nita Padda

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