No, this article is not about over-drinking in public and then finding your way home. Call a Taxi for that. This article is about how to feel comfortable attending your first small or large wine tasting event. So if you have been invited to one, or would like to purchase a ticket yourself, here are a few important points so that you are comfortable in your surroundings:
- Select a small, local tasting event held in a wine bar or restaurant that you are already comfortable in visiting. It’s the closest thing to drinking at home. You can look at my http://evewine101.com/scv-wine-calendar, www.LocalWineEvents.com or www.LearnAboutWine.com
- If you are more adventurous, or prefer to get “lost in the crowd”, look for events that are called “fests” as they are usually larger in scale with more offerings. The price of the event often reflects the number of wineries, however, if the event is for a non-profit most, if not all, of the money goes to the charity.
- Don’t bring a lot of “stuff” with you. You will need to carry a wine glass, a program and sometimes a plate of food. Ladies would be most comfortable with a small purse with a cross body strap.
- Leave the perfume and after-shave at home, it conflicts with the tasting as people are trying to smell their wine…not each other.
- Once you’ve arrived the first thing that may happen is that you are handed an empty glass. Holding it by the stem, take the time to walk around the venue, or look over the program, to familiarize yourself – there is no need to barrel right into tasting. My husband does it this way and it really allows him time to savor the event, and make informed decisions about what he would like to taste.
- Finally, with program in hand and/or having toured the venue, select pouring stations that you have decided to visit based on several factors:
- You can literally see that there is a buzz surrounding some of the tables as many people are clamoring for a taste.
- You found a favorite winery of your own is pouring, and you might enjoy learning more about the winery from their representative.
- If the program listed grape varietals being poured, and you’re, say, a Zinfandel fan, head for the table promising pours of your favorite.
- Talk to other guests to find out what they’ve enjoyed, and which winery representatives were most interesting. Just like sitting at a sushi bar, camaraderie builds at a wine tasting event.
- Stop at a table without a crowd – it doesn’t necessarily mean that there is anything negative about the wine so give it a try, you might make a new discovery to share with others!
Eve Bushman has been reading, writing, taking coursework and tasting wine for over 20 years. She has obtained a Level Two Intermediate Certification from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust, has been the subject of a 60-minute Wine Immersion video and recently served as a guest judge for the L.A. International Wine Competition. You can email Eve@EveWine101.com to ask a question about wine or spirits that may be answered in a future column.