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Winery Tours: How To Taste Wine In Seven Steps

May 4, 2008
With over 6000 wineries across the United States, there are ample opportunities for wine lovers to tour and taste. With the addition of several new wine trails across the country in the past few years, more and more people are enjoying visits to wineries. Did you know that every state in the U.S. now has at least one winery?

Before you travel to your local winery or the nearest wine trail, consider that your wine tasting experience will involve several of your senses. To get the most from your visit, and to help you more readily identify your favorite wines for a purchase, let's talk about how to approach wine tasting in general. And while wine tasting shouldn't be complicated or intimidating, here are seven tips to consider ...

1). Limit Your Use Of Cologne Or Perfume: These scents, while generally pleasing, will affect your ability to pick up wine aromas. In turn, this will alter your ability to judge a wine's true taste. And, these scents will affect the senses of your fellow wine tasters as well.

2). Have A Hearty Breakfast Or Lunch: Before embarking on a wine tasting journey, be sure you've had something to eat, but nothing too spicy or overly seasoned. Your taste buds should be neutral, and of course you'll want something in your stomach so you don't get tipsy.

3). Bring Bottled Water Along: Most tasting rooms will offer water with your tastings to help cleanse your palate. But if you're visiting more than one winery, it's a good idea to hydrate in between winery visits. Not only will this help keep your palate fresh, but will help minimize the alcohol.

4). Call Ahead: Wineries will occasionally host large tour groups, and if so, it might not be the best time for you to visit. Staff might be overwhelmed and you might not receive the attention you might otherwise expect. A quick phone call in advance will help you schedule the best time for you and the winery staff.

5). Follow The Progression: Be sure to go with the flow at the tasting counter. Wines are poured, and tasted, from light to dry to sweet for a reason. For example, if you start your tasting with a big bold red wine, it will adversely affect your perception of a light, dry white.

6). Hold The Cheese: Sometimes a tasting room will offer cheese samples along with the wine tasting. Try to hold off on the cheese, because cheese will alter your perception of the wine's taste. You can always pair up an appropriate cheese with your favorite wine later.

7). Keep An Open Mind: You may already have a definite opinion of what types of wines you enjoy. But keeping an open mind has its advantages! Try different styles. You might find a new favorite, and it's a great way to learn more about wine.

Just about every winery will offer you a warm, friendly wine tasting experience. Have fun, ask questions, and compare notes with friends. Wine is meant to be shared and enjoyed, and what better place to do it than at that special small winery on a scenic wine trail.
About the Author
Jim Hofman is an author specializing in wine, beer, and travel. For more fun facts about wine, you're invited to visit Jim's new website dedicated to wine travel, wine accessories, and wine education.
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