Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Wine Tasting for Beginners: Tasting Rooms

For those who haven't been wine tasting, I highly recommend it.

Most wineries will let you taste a selection of their wines in their tasting room. Tasting rooms are usually on site, but some wineries (usually in remote locations) will have tasting rooms in high traffic areas. You usually get to try 4 to 7 wines with prices ranging from free to $20 for the tasting. Some places will waive the tasting fee if you buy a bottle, which I have always felt is the best business policy. A taste is usually around 1.5 oz. some places use automatic pour spouts which limit the pour to a specified amount while others free hand it which usually leaves you with more wine in your glass. So, when you break it down you are usually getting about 2 glasses of wine for $10 which is cheaper than most wine bars.

Tasting rooms are a great place to learn about wine and to try varietals that you wouldn't normally buy off of a shelf. I know I find it hard to buy something I've never heard of when there is something I know right next to it. You also get to learn about the wines and the various winery practices that go into making each bottle. The tasting room staffs at most wineries are usually knowledgeable about their wines and their winery practices. Tasting rooms for the most part even in Napa Valley (with a few exceptions) are quite friendly and keep the snobbery in check except for snobby customers (they are in sales after all). So don't be intimidated about going wine tasting. The tasting room staff will also have recommendations for other wineries, restaurants, and things to do in their area that you may enjoy.

With so many grape varietals out there and many different styles for every varietal by going to many tasting rooms, it really helps people hone in on what they like.

There are wine regions to go to as a destination for a weekend or even a week of relaxation like Napa/Sonoma, Santa Barbara County, France, Italy, Spain, but at this point every state in the US has at least 1 winery even Alaska (I don't think Alaska has vineyards, it looks like fruit wines and imported grape juice). So go and check out your local wineries. At some point in my life I want to visit at least one winery in every state. So far I have California checked off my list... well it's a start.

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