When you go out to a bar or a restaurant, there are ways in which you are expected to behave. Many of these rules are unwritten, and are more to do with etiquette than anything else. There is an expected mode of behavior that is in place to ensure that everyone in the establishment has a good time. The same rules apply when you visit a wine tasting room. While wineries tend to appear a little more laid back than a fancy restaurant, the reality is that regular visitors go there with the expectation of a certain experience, and how you behave can have an impact on that. Let’s take a quick look inside wine tasting room etiquette.
Not all tasting rooms are built to handle large groups of guests, so keep that in mind when you hit the wine trail. If your group consists of 5 or more people, you really should call ahead and make a reservation for your group. Most tasting rooms are only designed to handle at a limited number of people at any given time, so calling ahead and booking your spot means that there will be no waiting, and that none of your group will get turned away.
Be prepared to dress up a little for the occasion. We are not suggesting that you break out the tuxedo or evening gown for a wine tasting room visit, but it is a good idea to dress in a style that would be considered business casual. Most places are okay with their guests wearing shorts, but that does not mean that you should break out the cut-off jeans. If it’s hot and you want to wear shorts, consider going with the type of outfit that you would wear on a classier golf course.
While you should dress the part, that does not mean slapping on your best cologne or perfume. There are few things worse in a wine tasting room than having to deal with a guest who has added a little too much fragrance to their get-up. This is annoying at the best of times, but especially in a tasting room, where the cloying odor of strong perfumes can have a direct impact on your ability to taste and smell the wine that is being presented for sampling.
While we understand that wine tasting can be an exciting experience, especially on your first visit, it is expected that you maintain your “indoor voice” at all times. Getting overly loud is incredibly off-putting to everyone else in the room. It’s also a good idea not to behave like a wine snob, as you can almost guarantee that there will be someone else in the room who knows more than you. It’s also perfectly acceptable to not like some of the wines that you taste, and it is okay to spit out or dump said wines, all without making any sort of scene. If you do love a particular wine, the best way to show this to the winemaker is to purchase a bottle or two before you leave.
By: August Dorfman