Tasting Room Etiquette

The tasting room guide tells you everything you need to know to survive the rituals of
the tasting room

  • As you enter the tasting room head for the tasting bar. A host will greet you and get you started with wine glasses and explain what wines are available for tasting and if there are any tasting fees.
  • Tasting rooms vary from the very elaborate to a simple table set up in the winemaking area.
  • White wines are tasted first, followed by red wines, and then dessert wines.
  • Taste each wine carefully and savor each sip. See our guide on how to taste wine.
  • Most wineries will have a sheet of tasting notes. Read the tasting notes as you taste and see if you notice any of the aromas or flavors listed in the notes.
  • It is okay to skip any of the wines on the tasting list. Some people just want to taste the reds. Some may be interested in tasting only certain varietals of wine.
  • Normally you would not ask for a second taste of one particular wine unless you indicate that you are interested in purchasing the wine.
  • You do not have to drink all the wine in your glass. Toss the unwanted wine in your glass into the dump bucket provided for this purpose.
  • If water is provided, use it to clear your palate or to rinse your glass. Rinsing the glass is a good idea when the tasting moves from whites to reds or to dessert wines.
  • Sometimes a neutral food will be provided, such as plain crackers. The purpose of the food is to clear the palate after tasting each particular wine.
  • Some tasting rooms will require that you pay a fee to taste the wine. Some wineries apply this fee to a purchase. Others might include a souvenir glass with the fee. Some tasting rooms have a two tier fee, one for the main line of wines and one for reserve wines
  • When a fee is charged, it is usually okay for two people to share one glass and pay only one tasting fee.