The Definitive Guide to Wine Tasting Etiquette

I attended a wine tasting a few weeks back and, as is often the case, I came away equally lit up and irritated. Unfortunately, simple common sense and manners tend to go right out the bloody window at large gatherings of people and this is particularly true among the eccentrics and self-important jackasses that seem especially drawn to wine-related events.

So, as is my solemn, tireless way, I’ve decided to lay down some of the more obvious, non-debatable wine tasting tenets that should be strictly adhered to, lest some desperate wino sees fit to spit an especially nasty port onto your vintage tweed jacket.

•    Get your pour, then get the frig out of the way. This couldn’t possibly be any simpler. Would you stand between a starving lion and a wounded zebra? Of course not. You’d be eviscerated, then picked over by hyenas. Planting yourself front and center at a tasting table is no less dangerous when there’s eight very thirsty people stacked up behind you.

•    Don’t line jump. You will be publicly lectured to, I don’t care what form of undiagnosed Asperger’s you have.

•    The food is there for everyone. So, don’t stand there idly grazing and chatting with your dog show buddies, while drunks with the munchies grow increasingly impatient behind you. Go ahead and pile your plate sky high, but do so quickly and keep moving. Also, those giant pincher things on the plates are ‘serving tongs’ not ‘something-you-brush-aside-while-you-serve-yourself-with-the-hand-that-you-just-used-to-scratch-your-ass tongs’.

•    Wine industry people: schmooze on your own time. If you work in the wine industry, that’s great. Really. I’m sure it’s gangs of fun and you’re the envy of all your friends. But this is not the time or place to waltz up and schmooze with the reps, preventing them from doling out samples as ya’ll make hollow promises to meet for coffee. If you think monopolizing the rep’s time while loudly name-dropping and casually listing your credentials is going to impress people waiting for a pour, you’ve clearly lost the plot.

•    Attendees: long-winded conversations with the rep are not cool. The rep is there to give you a quick, information-packed spiel while pouring your sample. This is why they’re there, otherwise the job could be done by robots. However, they are not there to humor you while you ask 12 pedantic, follow-up questions about the wine, alluding to your world travels and extensive grape knowledge while I go thirsty. If you really need that much detailed information on the wine’s background, go to their web site.

•    Wine reps: don’t play favorites. I have no doubt that the allure of paying special attention to colleagues and those with the most generous square footage of exposed cleavage is powerful, but the rest of us are paying attendees and we should not be punished for being mere citizens or reasonably concealing our tits (etcetera).

Did I miss anything?

[IMAGES GRABBED FROM: The Sarah Show and Wine Terroirs]

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