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How to Do a Wine Tasting at a Winery
With the first weekend of Texas Wine Month approaching, October is a beautiful month to make plans to visit some Texas Wineries! Spirit of Texas Winery is one of over 430 wineries in Texas and the only one in Brown County. Each one has its own uniqueness, story & beauty. If you haven’t had a chance, you need to start visiting some! The wine industry in Texas employs over 100,000 people and Texas wineries see over 1.7 million visitors per year. So when you buy Texas wines, you’re supporting the Texas economy too!
The most important to know is that you don’t have to be a wine expert to visit a winery. It’s all about finding something you like. On your first visit to a winery or if it’s been over a year, your best option is to try a tasting. A tasting gives you a chance to try some samples of several of their wines. Although many grocery stores, liquor stores and even wine bars are carrying a larger selection of Texas wines, the only way to see all of their wine is by visiting the winery.
You can find a thorough list of Texas wineries at www.uncorktexaswines.com or use The Texas Wine Lovers Map at: www.txwinelover.com. Your first step is to determine where you want to travel. Then look at the wineries along your route. Before you leave is the time for some research. Go to their websites & Facebook pages to see their hours and what they have to offer. Plan an hour or two per winery. The tasting room staff is there to help you learn about the wine and hopefully find something you like. Get ready for a fun adventure and some great memories.
- Be responsible – have a designated driver
- Have an answer to the question, “What kind of wine do you like?” or let them know you’re new to wine tastings
- Do your homework online before your trip
- Bring a valid ID
- Some wineries don’t accept walk-ins, only appointments
- Verify their hours in advance
- Don’t show up with a large group unexpectedly
- Go early, especially on weekends
- Dress comfortably and bring a jacket
- Avoid anything that interferes with your sense of smell (strong perfume)
- Avoid eating/drinking anything that will impact your taste buds (gum / coffee)
- Most wineries are non-smoking
- Bring bottled water
- If it’s hot, bring a cooler to protect your purchases
- Most wineries are family friendly, but make sure you have things to keep the kids busy
- Some wineries allow dogs, check beforehand
- Plan to eat during your trip, some offer food, others allow you to bring food
- Remember it’s a winery, other alcohol is not allowed
How to Taste Wine
- Take your time, enjoy it
- Look at the color
- Swirl & smell it
- Taste it, take a small sip
- Swirl and taste again
- Write your notes
- Cleanse your palate before each wine
At the winery:
- Start at the counter, find out how to get started
- No cell phone use during the tasting
- Consider sharing tastings
- Try new, unfamiliar things
- Don’t be afraid to use dump bucket
- Ask questions, there’s so much to learn
- Most wineries have relaxing atmospheres, be respectful of that
- Take notes, you’ll want to look back at them
- Share your visit on social media
- Leave reviews on Facebook, Yelp, Google & Trip Advisor
- Have fun, it should be a great experience
- Ask the winery for recommendations for your next stop including local restaurants.
- If you like it, buy a bottle or two
- If you really like it, check into their wine club
Some Tasting Terms
- Alcohol percentage: is a standard measure of how much alcohol is contained in a given volume of an alcoholic beverage.
- Aroma: The wine’s total smell, including changes that resulted from oak aging or that occurred in the bottle.
- Appellation: is a legally defined and protected geographical indication used to identify where the grapes for a wine were grown
- DRY: Having no perceptible taste of sugar. Most wine tasters begin to perceive sugar at levels of 0.5 percent to 0.7 percent.
- RESIDUAL SUGAR: Unfermented grape sugar in a finished wine.
- SULFITES: Naturally occurring component produced by the yeast during fermentation. Sulfites are found in nearly all wines.
- VINTAGE DATE: Indicates the year that wine grapes were harvested.