Tasting Etiquette 101

A few tips to make your wine tasting experience enjoyable for yourself, as well as others tasting around you:

  • ZAP events, as well as tasting rooms and winery events, are non-smoking and fragrance-free. Perfumes, smoke and other scents can interfere with your ability to distinguish aromas and flavors of the wine.
  • Be courteous to others who wish to taste. Please step back from the tasting table to do your personal evaluation. Others can then step forward to receive a sample of the wine. And if you want to give a high five, just step to the side to talk with the winemaker or winery representative.
  • Don’t carry a big purse or computer case into the tasting. Bumping other tasters with your stuff as they balance wine glasses can make the tasting less enjoyable.
  • When you ask for a taste, ask for the wine by name or varietal.
  • It is not necessary to rinse your glass with water between each wine (or even each table). Water has a big diluting effect on the wine to come. You only need to rinse your glass with water if the wine you just tried was flawed. Shake the water out well (or dry the glass) before moving on.
  • If you are sipping and spitting as you taste, it is best to have a separate cup to spit into rather than trying to lean across a table or counter to aim for the bucket.
  • There is no rule that says you must like or drink every wine poured. You will not offend the winemaker if you empty your glass into the container provided for that purpose, located on the tasting tables. Just don’t stand in front of the spit bucket or block other’s access to it, you may end up with a large dry cleaning bill.
  • Ask questions, enjoy your conversations and be considerate of all comments while in front of the producer.
  • Know when it’s time to move to the next table.
  • Don’t stand at the food table scarfing down all the cheese and appetizers. You are at a wine tasting; not dinner.

Your fellow tasters thank you!

This is an historical image.


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