Wine Business Insiders Give Their Top Tips For An Enjoyable Tasting Experience
Traveling to Napa, or indeed any of the world’s great wine regions, can be a once-in-a-lifetime experience. There is truly nothing like a day tasting world-class Napa Valley Cabernet, taking in an evening with a culinary masterpiece, and a night in a vineyard under the stars. But for wine tasting newcomers, a trip to winery or tasting room can be a bit intimidating: So many varietals, vintages, glasses and tasting methods…it can be overwhelming to first time visitors.
For most people, a trip to wine country may indeed be a once-in a lifetime experience, so making the best of it is critical. So we spoke to some of our favorite, most knowledgeable wine-industry insiders to get their expert advice on how to make the most of your next wine tasting adventure!
AnnaBelle Walter, Wine Industry Marketing Executive: Do your research! I'd say poll the group and determine your main goal. Is it visiting a property steeped in history, or one with state-of-the-art technology? Want to enjoy sweeping views from a panoramic deck, or do you and your friends prefer to explore subterranean caves? Do your research (also on price point and wine style), and choose 2-3 wineries per day max that fit your parameters to get the most out of the experience.
Becky Tyner Sandoval, Small Lots Big Wines: Keep hydrated!
Regina Fell, Boisset Family Estates: Take your time. Don’t slug it down: Taste it and savor it. Swirl, sniff, sip and savor.
Anna Eagan, Tasting Room Associate: If your host has served you, entertained you, helped you in any way and provided you with a pleasant experience, it is appropriate and encouraged to tip them. They may even have some special tidbits of their own to share with you!
Terra Jane Albee, White Rock Vineyards: Don’t be intimidated. Ask questions, pay attention. Don’t take it too seriously. Enjoy!
Buddy Bowles, Bremer Family Estates: Your Host is there to provide a memorable experience; help by being courteous when he or she is explaining their wines. (You’re not at) a bar, but a wine tasting of some of the best wines you may ever taste. As Maya Angelou said, "I have learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
Francesca Cunningham, Winery Social Media Expert: What’s that metal container on the bar? It’s a spittoon! It's ok to spit, especially if you are the driver. It will make your day longer and your morning less painful.
Sheila Thomas, Yao Family Wines Tasting Room Coordinator: Call ahead, even if it's not a "By Appointment Only" Tasting Room. The gesture will be appreciated and will mean you get a host who's expecting you, and usually better service.
Most of all, just have fun! The benefit of wine tasting is that it allows you to discover your own personal palette. You’re there to try new things. Over time, you’ll become an expert too!
The staff at Yao Family Wines is happy to help you plan your next trip and give you recommendations on wineries, restaurants and experiences. Call us anytime at 707-968-5874.