Tips For Surviving Your First Wine Tasting

Surviving Your First Wine Tasting - Day Dreaming Foodie

Does the thought of attending a wine tasting fill you with excitement? Or do you find the whole idea a little daunting?

If you are already a ‘wine connoisseur’ you are probably going to be comfortable enough with the idea of a room full of wine-makers showcasing their wines. I’m sure you can’t wait to get stuck into the chat and tasting of their wares. However if you are a ‘wine novice’ or even someone who is yet to find a wine they really enjoy; the thought of tasting what is often well over 100 wines could be a little off-putting. Attending a wine tasting is one of the only ways to really get a handle on what sort of wine you might like. They offer a valuable opportunity to taste a large number of different varietals and styles in a relatively short space of time; allowing you to garner a better idea of what it is you really enjoy. There really is no need to worry. Wine tastings are generally fun, friendly events, and with these tips for surviving your first wine tasting, you’ll fit right in.

Tips For Surviving Your First Wine Tasting

Wine Tasting - Day Dreaming Foodie - Il Pirata

Eat Well Beforehand 

If you ever needed an excuse to over indulge in carbs – this is your moment! There is likely to be numerous glasses of wine in your future, so it’s best to ensure you have a hearty meal beforehand. Don’t eat anything too heavy that might leave you feeling bloated or sluggish but do eat something that will suck up some of the booze. Try gnocchi or pasta, for instance. ♥

Wear Comfortable Attire

I’m no spoilsport. You don’t have to leave that pair of stilettos at home if you don’t want to, but PLEASE be sure you can handle tottering about for a number of hours in your selected footwear. Chairs are usually hard to come by at such events and a great first step towards surviving your first wine tasting is making sure your attire doesn’t interfere with your enjoyment. You should also try not to wear white… accidents happen…

Wine Tasting - Day Dreaming Foodie - shoes

 Take a moment to select your ‘must tries’

You might intend to taste all of the wine on offer but it doesn’t always work out that way. You might have had enough after a couple of hours, or maybe the event finishes before you have had a chance. That’s why it is important to identify the areas of the room that contain the wines you would really like to try. Start with them and anything else you manage to fit in is a bonus.

Take advantage of the water & bread

Another food-related tip. There is ALWAYS bread and/or crackers on offer alongside bucket loads of water. Take regular refreshment breaks. Not only does it keep you hydrated and going for longer, but it will also refresh your palate. Very important if there are lots of big reds involved; those tannins can take over!

Ask Questions

No matter how silly your question may seem – ask it anyway. Importers and especially wine makers are passionate about their products. This means they are more than happy to chat about the production method, floral aromas, food pairings… you name it! The main reason for going to such events is to educate yourself and your palate – so make sure to ask any and all of the questions.

Wine Tasting - Day Dreaming Foodie - Nibbles

You don’t need to finish every pour

A winemaker won’t be insulted if you don’t finish your tasting sample. In fact they would be very surprised if everyone did! Remember you have a lot of wines to taste and proceed with slight caution. I am not saying you shouldn’t drink some wine, get tipsy and enjoy yourself; but you might be surprised by the effect that many tiny glasses of many different wines can have. Be careful on the stairs….

Don’t be afraid to use the spittoons

The concept of spitting is hard to get your head around, I have often had discussions with people who say that ‘they just won’t do it’; but if you intend to make a habit out of attending wine tastings it’s a bridge you are ging to have to cross. Practice with water at home but don’t worry if you are a far from a pro at this. I have been attending wine tastings for YEARS and it isn’t beyond me to dribble the odd time *shock horror*. You will be surrounded with like-minded people – come armed with tissues and dark coloured clothing and I promise it will be ok.

Wine Tasting - Day Dreaming Foodie - Pouring Champagne

 Take photos

Smart phones. Where would we be without them? Taste a wine you like? Take a snap for later. It’s often the easiest way to locate a bottle on the shelf at a later date. You don’t only want to be surviving your first wine tasting, you want to ACE it and charm friends and family with your well chosen picks in the near future.

Write notes

You will likely be given a nifty little notelet for jotting down your thoughts on each wine. There is no need to write complicated WSET style tasting notes, but jotting down a few words such as ‘floral aromas’ or ‘dark summer fruits’ can help you remember what you were thinking when tasting a wine. I have also adopted a 20point scoring system – it helps me determine what I thought was good quality that I may want to revisit. Either at the tasting or some other time.


You are there to have fun and hopefully find some new wines to enjoy. Please don’t stress over the event when you should just be relaxing, meeting like minded folk & tasting ALL of the wonderful wines.

Have you been wine tasting recently? Or plan to go soon? I’d love to hear all about it! And ask me your wine related questions too 🙂

If you enjoyed this post you might like my posts about food & wine matching. Check out my guide to matching wine with various chicken dishes here or click here for wine pairing with lamb!