September 10, 2023: How to Prepare for a Wine Tasting
This is a guest post by our team member, Paul!
When I was approached to write a blog post on the topic of wine tasting and tasting room
etiquette, I initially thought, “This should be a straightforward task.” My plan was to draw
parallels with the etiquette observed in cigar smoking. However, as I delved into the subject, I
quickly realized that wine tasting was a world apart from what I had expected. That said, I
conducted extensive research, and you can find all the articles I referenced listed at the end of
As mentioned in Winecountry.com’s blog, at Kalasi Cellars, we highly appreciate reservations
for tastings. Considering the abundance of wineries available in the Texas Hill Country, the
fact that you’ve chosen to visit us brings us immense joy and excitement. We’re eager to share
the wonderful work of Greg and Nikhila Narra Davis with you through our wines.
Making a reservation is beneficial for all tasting rooms as it enables them to prepare adequately
for seating arrangements. When a party of 14 shows up from a wine tour they can take up a lot
of real estate at the counter, which makes it hard to cater to walk-in customers. That being said,
walk-ins are definitely welcome at all times of the day. We do like to make sure we have room
for the appointments as well though. In practice having an appointment guarantees room in the
tasting room for you and your party.
Kalasi Cellars extends a warm welcome to families with both children and dogs. To ensure
everyone’s safety and comfort, we kindly request that all dogs be leashed and remain within the
front porch area. We have received feedback from guests who have chosen to visit Kalasi
Cellars precisely because of our family-friendly atmosphere, where children are embraced and
encouraged to join in the experience.
Loud gatherings can sometimes unintentionally disrupt the ambiance. We want to ensure that
your wine tasting experience remains enjoyable and comfortable. It’s important to note that not
all tasting rooms share the same design. Some are cozy and intimate, while others are more
spacious and open. However, regardless of their layout, excessive noise, such as loud talking
or boisterous laughter, can create disruptions. Therefore, we kindly ask all guests to be
considerate of others while savoring their wine tasting experience, as maintaining a harmonious
atmosphere is our top priority.
What to Wear
While formal attire is seldom required you do want to take into consideration the purpose of your
visit. Are you attending a special event at the winery? Are you taking part in a wine and food
pairing, and if so, is it a picnic style pairing or a more formal dining experience? Moreover, it’s crucial to be mindful of the unpredictable weather in the Texas Hill Country, where outdoor
temperatures can fluctuate as much as 10 degrees in a matter of minutes.
You will definitely want to take into consideration the plan of your visit. Will you be going on a
vineyard tour, or perhaps having a private winemaker’s tasting in a temperature controlled
barrel room? These factors can significantly impact your experience, especially when it comes
to comfort. Consider your shoes for instance. Should you plan on comfortable closed toe flats
because of an unplanned stroll with a glass of wine? When visiting a winery you must take into
consideration that there may be uneven ground to traverse, dirt or soft soil, or will you choose to
stand on a polished concrete floor your entire tasting.
Having discussed the etiquette for the tasting room, let’s now delve into the actual tasting
aspect of the experience. This is where you have the freedom to express your preferences,
whether you wish to adopt a refined and sophisticated approach or maintain a more relaxed and
casual demeanor. Each individual’s experience varies, and personal preferences play a
Time to Taste
Wine tasting is a very sensory involved experience. You begin by using your eyes to assess the
wine’s clarity and color, setting the stage for your olfactory anticipation of what you’ll smell.
Next you are smelling the wine you are tasting and following that up with your tastebuds. That
being said, make sure not to wear heavy perfume/cologne or lotion for that matter. Even if you
think it won’t affect you, it may affect the person next to you. It’s amazing how a person’s
olfactory glands can get bombarded with a scent that just pushes everything else out of the
sensory field for them. Try to avoid a big meal immediately prior to tasting, give yourself at least
30 minutes. And, do not chew gum prior to tasting. Your entire palate is used in the tasting
process and nothing can ruin it faster than a fresh stick of peppermint gum.
Ask for a dump bucket if you like. While spitting is normally frowned upon in today’s society, it is
completely acceptable in wine tasting. If you are only visiting one tasting room it may not be as
important to limit your alcohol intake as it would be if you were visiting four tasting rooms. If you
take into consideration your having at least five ounces of wine in a five wine tasting. That’s a
glass of wine per tasting. There are four to five glasses in a bottle of wine depending on pour
size. Besides enjoying the wines you’re tasting, you don’t want to fall into the, “I love this wine,”
on your third or fourth stop on the wine tour. That’s when you purchase wines you would never
have purchased before. That is a bit of free advice from someone who early on fell into that trap
a couple of times.
The technique you use will greatly alter your experience in tasting wines. This is where all of
your senses are coming into play. You’re looking at the clarity and color. Is it a golden butter you see, dark cherry red, dark squid ink or somewhere in between. Your eyes are preparing
your brain for what it’s about to smell. Swirl the wine around to coat the glass and open up the
aromatics of the wine. Be sure to hold the glass by the stem. Holding the glass bowl itself not
only leaves greasy fingerprints all over you may actually warm the wine more than you need to.
Then take a deep breath through your nose as it hovers just inside the glass. What is your brain
telling your taste buds to expect? Are you picking up oak, leather, fruit nuances or even floral
notes? Now take a small sip. You really should be taking at least three small sips of the wine.
Remember you are most likely tasting a single ounce of wine. Take that into consideration and
adjust the amount of wine you sip in. Swirl the wine all around your mouth coating the entire
palate. The first sip will be predominantly alcohol you taste. The following sips will start to
mellow out and you will be able to pick up small nuances of what you are tasting.
Now it’s time to sit back and enjoy your favorite wine by the glass or purchase your bottle to
take with you. If you’re at a small boutique winery, such as Kalasi Cellars, and you enjoyed the
wines that you won’t find elsewhere, inquire about the club. In wine clubs you typically get the benefits of discounted wines and free tastings as club members. Not to mention club only
events special to the winery.