What not to do at a wine tasting

3 Feb

Psssst…you with the wineglass. Yeah, you! Don’t tell anyone, but I’m supposed to be doing statistics homework right now.

I know what you’re going to say.  “Writing a wine blog post has nothing to do with MBA coursework.” Well, yes and no. It turns out that my school not only puts on this wine-derful fundraiser, the Annual Wine Classic, but it also makes its own wine! Check it out:

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Last weekend, I got to attend the 34th annual Wine Classic, my first big wine tasting event since last fall. Boy, did I need a drink…but I digress. I often get asked what one should do at a wine tasting. The answer is: have fun. There are, however, a few things you should not do.

At the risk of being expelled from my program, I am about to share with you some faux pas I observed at the event. I’ve turned these no-no’s into guidelines that not only will enhance your own experience, but possibly the experience of your fellow wine lovers. Consider this your “Rules of the Road” for wine tasting. Are you ready? Let’s go!

1. Do not wear perfume. If you’ve learned anything from Señorita Vino all these years, it’s that most of what you “taste” when you sip wine is experienced through your sense of smell. The best way to completely mess this up is to wear fragrance of any kind. Don’t do it. Chicos, that includes you.

2. Don’t ask for a second or third pour. This is a wine tasting, not a bar. Winemakers bring just enough wine to ensure everyone gets a taste. That little booklet or handout you get at most wine tasting events is your best amigo. Circle or check off the wines you like, maybe grab a business card from the winemaker or representative, and try to find a bottle of that wine at a wine shop. If it’s a boutique winery, you may be able to buy it from their website.

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3. Don’t bring a gigantic purse. This is the sound of you with your ginormous designer bag, trying to squeeze through a sardine-like gantlet of fellow wine tasters: SPLASH. Leave the tote bag at home and opt for something smaller that will leave your hands free to hold a wineglass and small food plate–and not jostle other wine lovers as you walk by.

4. Event planners, don’t use vinyl to cover floors or tables. My only gripe about the Wine Classic itself was the noxious odor emitted by the plastic tarp covering the floor of the university’s sports complex. I get that you have to protect the expensive wood floor, but the overpowering smell of vinyl was, well, overpowering. Maybe air out the tarp a few days before, or find a covering that doesn’t give off a smell.

5. Don’t be a snob about it. Ah, the grandiose swirler, the smug connoisseur, the chummy “insider.” These textbook archetypes of Vinus Snobus can forget that they’re in a space with hundreds of other wine lovers. Once they get to the front of the line, they decide it’s a great time for a fireside chat with the winery staff. There’s nothing wrong with striking up a conversation with winery reps. Just be considerate of your fellow wine lovers and make sure there’s not a mile-long line of people waiting patiently behind you for a taste of wine.

"You're my little macaron, oh yes you are!" (image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons by Pierre Marcolini)

“You’re my little macaron, oh yes you are!” (image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons by Pierre Marcolini)

6. Don’t hoard the macarons. Or the cheese. Or the charcuterie. Like many wine tasting events, the Wine Classic featured a couple of large cheese and fruit stations, and some dessert and coffee stands. Classy! But not so classy was the lady stuffing macarons and chocolate almond bark into two ‘grande’ paper coffee cups. I kid you not. I was crushed, because I actually had a dream about macarons the night before. I couldn’t find macarons in the ol’ dream dictionary, but I suspect it means there’s a trip to Paris in my future. Or maybe not. Either way, I didn’t get my macaron. Waaah.

I think that covers it, darlings. Have I left anything out? if you have any additional tips, do share! Until next time, ¡Salud!

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8 Responses to “What not to do at a wine tasting”

  1. talkavino February 3, 2015 at 9:24 pm #

    Of course it depends on the size of the tasting, but the major rule which people have to practice is “Spittoon is your friend” – even the tiniest amount which are swallowed, will accumulate… Also, just in case, one more rule might be “have a designated driver” or “you are not going to drive after this”.
    By the way, I think people often overlook your rule #1, which is oh so important!

    • Pamela February 3, 2015 at 9:30 pm #

      Well said, Talkavino! The spittoon is definitely your friend, and there’s nothing sadder than an empty spittoon. And yes, DO NOT DRIVE after a wine tasting if you intend to ignore the spittoon. Glad you agree on the perfume thing. There oughtta be a law…Gracias for sharing your tips!

  2. Laura C. Romero February 4, 2015 at 9:12 am #

    Hi Senorita Vino,

    I just saw that you are working on your MBA. Now I know why you are so busy. Congrats! I just started a new contract with HOPE for their youth leadership institute so it has been a bit busy. I haven’t forgotten you and getting together…. sometime soon given our schedules. I wish you the best on your degree!

    Laura

    • Pamela February 4, 2015 at 3:51 pm #

      Congrats on the HOPE gig, Laura! You GO, chica! Yes, schedules are crazy but I’m sure we’ll find a time to get together soon. Cheers/Salud!

  3. dwdirwin February 4, 2015 at 12:50 pm #

    That is a true tragedy, not getting any macarons! They’re the best.

    • Pamela February 4, 2015 at 3:54 pm #

      It really was tragic, Dawn. Still baffled by The Macaron Hoarder. She didn’t even *try* to be discreet! So brazen and so wrong!

  4. Michelle Williams February 4, 2015 at 4:00 pm #

    What? No hoarding the macaroons? That is NOT fair! 😉

    • Pamela February 5, 2015 at 8:33 pm #

      Michelle, Señorita Vino is shocked! ;-D I wanted to tell that lady that it’s bad enough to hoard macarons, but it’s criminal to cram them into a paper coffee cup!

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