|A typical wine tasting in San Francisco - a flight of wine vs. the one-by-one approach.|
- Before selecting your tasting wines, always ask the server, "What are your favorite wines here?" They've tried them all, of course, and are experts on the vintner's wine. You can also ask, "what is this winery known for, specifically?" Just like at a restaurant, it's a wise idea to try the chef's (in this case, winemaker's) speciality. You might be pleasantly surprised.
- You will often get to select up to 5 or 6 wines to taste. Divide your choices evenly between reds and whites. If we see an expensive wine on the menu of options, we might pick that one, too.
- Be willing to go outside your comfort zone. If your server offers something that doesn't appeal to you, at least try it. It's as rude to stick your nose out at their wine as it would be to refuse something at a meal because you don't normally like it.
- Be friendly. This goes without saying, but after a few tastings, sometimes manners get thrown out the window as the wine begins to show through. Friendly tasters often get an extra sip at the end, compliments of the house. Sometimes on wines that aren't even featured on the menu of options. Be nice to your server and they will take care of you.
- Try pouring out some of each taste--if you can! See above: yes, it's probably more fun to drink every sip, but boisterous crowds can ruin the experience for others in the tasting room.
- Don't be afraid to ask questions. If you want to seem knowledgeable, you can follow up a factoid the server shares with you while pouring with a simple, "and is that typical of this region/winery/grape"? Servers, unless extremely busy, will enjoy chatting with you about their wines. And the pressure is off, compared to other places like restaurants, to prove you're knowledgeable. The entire point of the tasting room is to give people an introduction to the wines produced at the featured winery.
- It's OK to linger if the tasting room is not too busy. Nothing is worse than being rushed through a tasting. If you see it looks busy from the road, you might want to drive on to your next location, if that's an option.