Attending a wine tasting? Here are a few etiquette tips.

Thursday, July 06, 2017

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Over the last decade, I have been involved in the staging of numerous wine-related events, locally and internationally. These events range from simple wine-tasting sessions, wine-introduction talks, full-blown wine education weekends, to elaborate wine-pairing dinners. As I get ready to conduct another wine-introduction class this weekend I reflect on a few etiquette tips which will help any host or attendee enjoy one of these events.

Attendees — Do RSVP

The letters RSVP mean “répondez, s'il vous plaît,” which means “please reply.” Most wine events have a specific number of seats, hence the need to confirm numbers. The facilitators also need to ensure sufficient stemware, wine and food so that each attendee will have a wonderful experience. Please do not RSVP for one and arrive with four.

As Hosts

Be mindful of the temperature of the wine and stemware.

Wine should be tasted at the same temperature at which it would be served for a meal. Never serve wines too hot, or too cold for that matter. Avoid prolonged cold storage. Numb wine has no aroma — 80%+ of “taste” is smell: ice-cold wine has no smell, therefore no taste. In general, the higher the quality and the more complex and older a white wine is, the less it should be chilled. Great stemware makes a big difference to the aspiring wine lover. While most of us can drink wine from anything, major enjoyment comes from using fine stemware which helps the process of sight, smell, sipping and savouring fine wines.

Attendees — please arrive on time

Events such as wine dinners, wine tastings and wine classes have a set agenda with a beginning, a middle and an end. When I started conducting my wine seminars I had a few occasions when persons would call me to say that they were “passing through later”. I hastily explained that this was not a 'pass through' type of event; it's not a party. We have a finite number of seats available and I need to know if you are attending for the full four hours or not. If you are late, you might miss a few of the wines being tasted.

Hosts — please be ready

Sadly, some hosts have created a bad reputation by not being ready at the time they indicated, so guests are always late for their events; let this not be you. Please respect each other's time.

Attendees — be mindful of YOUR perfume/cologne

The most important of the human senses for wine tasting is the sense of smell. If you are attending a professional tasting event, please do not wear overly powerful perfume, aftershave, cologne or any other odour that will interfere with the ability to smell wine. In the industry, professionals are asked NOT to wear any. Odours such as tobacco smoke are not appropriate at professional events.

Christopher Reckord — Information Technology Entrepreneur & Wine Enthusiast. Send your questions and comments to You can also follow me on Facebook, Instagram @chrisreckord and on Twitter: @Reckord




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