It goes without saying that wine tasting is about having fun. Have too much of it, however, and you risk spoiling the experience for others, offending staff, and embarrassing yourself. And getting sloppy isn’t the only faux pas—there are dozens of rules when visiting wineries and many of them are unspoken. To save you from yourself, we’ve rounded up 7 rules for winery tasting room etiquette. Let’s begin.
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Don’t Walk Between the Vines
You wouldn’t hop your neighbor’s fence and hang out in his backyard, would you? Then don’t wander around a vineyard unless you’ve been given permission. And don’t even think about plucking fruit from the vines…
Skip the Cologne or Perfume
Nothing ruins the subtle aromas of wine quite like a heady waft of Axe cologne. If you’re so concerned with how you smell, maybe, like, take a shower beforehand?
Don’t Demand Special Treatment
We don’t care if you work in the industry or know the person who knows the grounds supervisor. When visiting a winery, don’t expect to get VIP treatment. Wine tastings are generally group experiences and nothing’s more of a buzzkill than sitting with the guy who demands to meet the winemaker or insists on a personal tour of the cellar.
Yes, wine is delicious, and we understand wanting to try everything that’s put in front of you. But if you’re tasting many wines or visiting multiple vineyards in one day, it’s important to enjoy in moderation. On a related note: make sure to eat beforehand, and if you’re doing a whole day of tasting, be sure to break up the drinking with other activities, like sightseeing or a big lunch.
There’s No Shame in Spitting
No, it’s not a sign you don’t like what’s in your glass, nor is it rude or offensive. If you’re tasting a lot of wine, you’ll want to keep your palate fresh and your mind clear—so spitting isn’t just acceptable but encouraged. To look like even more of a pro, bring a notepad for writing tasting notes. It’ll come in handy when you’re back at home and want to remember what you tasted.
Don’t Be a Know-It-All
There’s a time and a place to dazzle your friends with your wine knowledge. Please, please don’t impose your smarts on a room full of unsuspecting strangers. At best, you’ll come across as insecure, at worst a self-loving prick.
Buy the Wine
This is more of a soft recommendation than a hard-and-fast rule. If you’ve enjoyed your tasting experience and want to show it, buy a bottle or two. Feeling extra generous? Tip your server.
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