The Art of Wine Tasting and Clubs

The Art of Wine Tasting and Clubs

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Image: Kelsey Chance-Unsplash

Wine tasting can be challenging. The art of tasting the wine is naturally as old as the art of wine-making itself. Nowadays the activity of wine taster has turned in an appreciated career for some.

The art of tasting the wine is naturally as old as the art of wine-making itself. Nowadays the activity of wine taster has turned in an appreciated career for some. If the ancient people used to taste wine before they consumed it now we have experts that taste the wine for us and tell us which wine is better than the other.

If you’ve ever thought of going to a wine tasting, but felt intimidated and unsure how to act or what to do, this handy guide will tell you everything you need to know about a wine tasting.

Going to a wine tasting can be a very fun and enjoyable experience. However, many people do not attend for fear of not knowing exactly how to act or what to do. There is no great mystery to wine tastings, just a few things you should remember.  

One of the challenges of this job is to be able to translate the taste of wine into language. Greeks used different words to describe wine but today with so many more wines to elaborate upon describing the taste of a wine is a real challenge. Sometimes, fruit, flowers and vegetables are used as a reference. Some experts use the smell of food to describe the wines. Another challenging part of the wine taster job is the ability to spit or gob. In wine circles the ability to spit like an Icelandic geyser is a critical social skill. As a wine taster you can even be labeled by this ability and the inability to perform this important part of the job is deployed as the most final and cutting of insults, and at tastings there is a very clear spitocracy.

As far as etiquette, usually the ladies are served before the gentlemen. Some wine tastings offer you bottled water. Use this to rinse out your mouth between tastings so your palate is clean for the next wine. There is often unsalted and unflavoured crackers and bread to help palate cleansing as well. You should always handle the wine glass by the stem. This helps avoid heating the wine with the warmth of your hands, thus altering the taste. Avoid wearing strong perfumes and colognes to a wine tasting. That may take away from not only your smell, but also that of the other guests. Also, avoid smoking, gum, and mints before and during a wine tasting to be able to enjoy the full flavour of the wine.

You can tell a lot about a wine just by looking at its colour. When you attend wine tasting, the glasses should always be clear so you can get a good look at the wine. The tables may also be covered with white tablecloths to help you see the wine’s colour clearly. Do not let the wine name full you. For example, white wines are not white in colour. They may range from yellow to green to brown. Red wines range in colour from pale red to a deep brownish red and often become lighter with age. Sometimes the colour of a wine may indicate age or flavour. You may be able to tell the age of a red wine by doing a rim test. Tilt the glass slightly towards the rim of the wine glass and look at the wine. If the colour of the red wine is more of a purple, it is usually a younger wine. If the colour of the red wine is brown, it is an older wine.  

Another thing you may have seen people do before they taste wine is swirl it slightly in the glass. This is to help open up the wine’s flavour. Remember that the wine may have been in a bottle anywhere from six months to many, many years. When someone swirls a wine, it helps release the flavours. Just like when you’re cooking at home and stir the food to help blend the flavours.

The colour of the wine is just one aspect you will want to look at when you attend a wine tasting. You will also want to smell the wine. After swirling, this is the next step in the tasting process. You have probably seen people smell wine before and wondered why they did it. Smell plays a very important part in what we taste. Researchers have determined that perhaps as much as 75% of what we taste is actually based on what we smell first.  You can smell your wine one of two ways: taking a small whiff to get an idea of how the wine smells, then a deeper whiff or take one deep whiff.  After smelling the wine, take a minute to think about the smell. You do not want to immediately taste it after smelling but give yourself time to explore exactly what you smelled.

Finally, you will need to know how to taste the wine properly. Your tongue has taste buds in both the front and back. These taste buds can detect bitter, salty, sweet, and sour flavours, but some are more sensitive than others are. There are three steps in tasting a wine: the first impression, the taste, and the aftertaste. The first impression happens when you take your first drink and the wine actually hits your taste buds. It should awaken your sense to the wine. After taking the first drink, you should swish the wine around your mouth for a few seconds to let all your taste buds discover the full flavour of the wine. Think about what the wine tastes like. Is it light or heavy? Is it smooth or harsh?  The aftertaste is the sensation that remains in your mouth after swallowing the wine. How long did it last and was it pleasant?

Before attending a wine tasting, it may help you feel more confident to read about the different types of wines. This will give you a better idea of what to look for as far as flavour and taste. Next time you are invited to a wine tasting; do not be afraid to go.  You may be missing a great experience!

Wine clubs are a convenient way to know wine. For wine lovers and would-be wine drinkers, joining a wine club would bring numerous benefits. Find out why many people are turning to a wine club for information and sharing.

Wine clubs have been sprouting up in recent years as a result of an increased interest in wine and greater wine consumption. In fact, according to figures from the Wine Institute, sales of wine in the United States went up four percent in 2004. Exports of wine by other countries to the U.S. remain steady since foreign wineries have found the United States to be a lucrative place to do business. For wine lovers and would-be wine drinkers, joining a wine club would bring numerous benefits.

Many wine clubs count expert vintners or sommeliers among their members. But you don’t need to be a wine aficionado to be able to join a wine club. A great many clubs welcome both newbies and experts. They offer much information not only about various wines out in the market, but also about many wine-related topics; for instance, which type of wine should be served with a certain entrée; or news about the latest goings-on in the wine industry.

Wine clubs offer varying membership programs. For the fee you pay, you will receive wine selections from vineyards whose offerings meet the club’s standards. Clubs can send you their hand picked selections, or give you the opportunity to make your own selections. Most clubs usually send two bottles of wine to each member per month; they can be two bottles of red or two of white, or one of each. Along with the wine, you will also receive pertinent information about them, such as the winery where they came from, any awards, publicity or accolades that have been accorded to the vintner, and a description of the conditions under which the grapes used in the wine were grown.

Wine club membership offers several other perks. For instance, premium members are offered the ability to buy wines at discounted prices. If they have a Wine of the Month program, you can be sure that you’ll realise significant savings from being a member than if you just bought the featured wine at regular prices. Joining a wine club would be a good investment if you are a regular wine drinker which many people are becoming because of much publicised news about how regular wine consumption has numerous health benefits. Also, most of the wine clubs today offer a gift membership program, which you can give to people who would enjoy wine either by itself or with a meal. 

Many wine stores or retailers have their own wine clubs, which you can join for a fee. Some clubs offer open-ended programs, meaning you can cancel your membership anytime. You should base your wine club choice on several factors. Are the services they offer worth the rate they are charging? What are their expert credentials? Do they have wine experts who can give sound wine recommendations?  Do they have additional activities for members, such as wine tastings or perhaps visits to vineyards? You should evaluate these factors and more before you select a club to join. There are hundreds of wine club websites online, and they provide detailed information on what you get for your money.

People enjoy the benefit of receiving their wine at their doorstep no more need to zip around to a wine seller’s physical location for a bottle of vino. However, you should remember that most U.S. states have strict laws regarding the shipping of wine from state to state. Perhaps you might consider choosing a club that has a branch in your particular state because in such cases the law is not as strict. This is another factor that you should look at when you are evaluating which club to join.

You can choose to join a wine club that has international coverage, one that features wine produced in the world’s most popular winery regions, and whose membership runs in the thousands or you could opt for a smaller, more specialised wine club, which focuses on only one or two specific wine-producing regions. Then there are clubs that concentrate on providing only a certain type of wine, such as red, white, or champagne.

As you can see, there are many factors to consider when choosing a wine club to join. But then, as you can also probably see, there are numerous benefits you can experience if you choose the right wine club.