Tasting Tips

Wine Tasting is Meant to be Shared

Our producers are as individualistic as the wine itself, and just as approachable, so we encourage you to experiment with their many styles of wine at tastings, from intimate to grand. Without much hassle, you can traverse multiple regions of California and try a new winery off the beaten path; discover the perfect flavor combination for your rub; sit down with the pros to discuss what’s inside the bottle; and get to know your favorite winemaker.

We encourage you to use tastings and winery events as an opportunity to get to know this multi-faceted, food-friendly wine. Tastings can be as large as our annual multi-day Zinfandel celebration, ZinEX, or an intimate gathering of your friends, and any size in between. Make each one memorable!

Your guide to Wine Tasting 101

Wine tastings are popular because they erase the limitations of sampling wine alone… how much can you learn by tasting wine by yourself? But, you can learn from your fellow tasters. You can taste wine with individuals who are more experienced than you, which speeds up the training of your palate.

Swirl the wine around in the glass. Look at the color and smell the aromas. Take a sip (small if swallowing, larger if spitting) and consider the flavors and the after taste.

Draw air into your mouth to enhance your ability to taste the wine. With a little practice, you can gurgle without making loud, attention-getting noises.

Swallowing isn’t really necessary in order to taste the wine fully. If you leave the wine in your mouth for eight to ten seconds, you’ll be able to taste it thoroughly — without having to worry about the effects of the alcohol.

Write notes all over your program, using key words to trigger the taste memory, and star your favorites to visit the winery later.

Drink water or eat bread to clear your palate and think about eating while wine tasting…your body will thank you for it.

At a grand tasting like ZinEX, plan out your theme ahead of time, and share your tastes with a buddy:

  • Follow the terroir trail: Taste wines made from every growing region.
  • Discover the wines of new ZAP members or wines new to you.
  • Seek out styles to fit every part of your life: Zins to sip on their own, Zins for the outdoors or with take-out, Zins for dinner parties or a momentous occasion, Zins for dessert or sipping slowly while curled up by a fire.
  • In the mood for Chinese, Italian, Indian, Mexican or Greek? Set out to find specific Zins to match the flavors you love to eat.

Want to plan your own Zinfandel tasting at home? We have the complete package… a list of ideas to develop a theme, complete with a sample tasting sheet to print and use at your own “professional” tasting with friends!

And overall, be safe. Limit the amount you drink if you are driving. Designate a driver or use public transportation.

Zinfandel Advocates & Producers (ZAP) is committed to promoting the responsible consumption of its members’ products by those adults who choose to drink. ZAP has a zero-tolerance towards underage drinking.


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