Our Top 10 Tips... for getting the most out of a wine tasting event

Despite what you might have heard, the wine crowd are a pretty friendly bunch so don’t be intimidated. Find out what events are going on near you, and get involved. Whether you are a wine guru, a wine student, or a complete novice, wine tastings are brilliant fun for all. Best of all you might learn a few juicy nuggets of knowledge to share at your next dinner party.

So here are our top 10 tips for getting the most out of a wine tasting:
1.       Have a sarnie Whether you are tasting just a few select wines or attending a wine fair with hundreds of wines on offer, it could get boozy, so it’s always a good idea to make sure you’ve lined your stomach with a good meal before you go.
2.       Find out the format
Portfolio tastings and wine fairs tend to be a pretty informal, with lots of walking and standing, whereas hosted tastings tend to be more of a sit-down affair with the wines discussed in a particular order. At the very least you can plan your footwear accordingly.

3.       Do your research
Find out who is going to be at the event and prioritise any producers you want to meet, or wines you want to try. This is particularly true of big tasting events when there is so much to see and do it's easy to get distracted.

4.       Don’t be afraid to ask
Ask all the questions! This is your opportunity to find out information from those in the know so don’t be afraid to ask away. The wine industry is ever evolving and those in the industry are constantly learning and honing their skill – we’re all learning together.

5.       Take notes and pictures
By wine number 10, you may well have forgotten the floral characteristics of wine number 3 so make some notes and take pictures of the labels you like. Most organisers are more than happy for you to take pictures, especially if you are planning to share them on Instagram!

6.       Try new things
Wine tastings are the perfect chance to try before you buy. Whether that is obscure regions, unusual varieties or a minimal intervention funky Orange wine. Get involved.

7.       Remember the 4 S’s – See, Sniff, Slurp and Savour
To get the most out of the wines you try, do as the pros do and remember the 4 S’s.

See - Tilt the wine glass so that you can see the core (central) colour and observe changes towards the rim. Look for clean or dull colours and the level of viscosity.
Sniff – Swirl the wine in your glass to allow the aromas to escape from the surface. Sniff deeply and, if you are comparing wines, move from one to the other to establish the differences. Look out for fruity, floral, vegetal, spicy, animal and roasted smells (in that order).
Slurp – Imagine you are slurping ramen noodles. Coat your tongue with the wine and experience its full flavour sensation. Taste sweetness, acidity, tannins, alcohol, fullness of body and flavour.
Savour - Enjoy the aftertaste and try to describe the experience and longevity in your mind.
8.       Don’t get too excited
Those small sips can quickly add up – remember the spittoon is your friend.

9.       Stay hydrated Whether you decide to spit or savor you will be consuming alcohol and to prevent that grumpy morning headache it's always a good idea to drink lots of water. It also helps cleanse your pallet between wines.
10.   Give feedback
Tasting is subjective. This is an opportunity for you to understand your like and dislikes. Share your thoughts and your host will be able to point you in the direction of other wines you might enjoy based on your feedback.

Honest Grapes Upcoming Tastings: For the full list of our latest tastings click here.