Wine tasting etiquette is a tough subject to tackle. Now that our tasting room is closed for the season, it seemed like a good time to address this!
Closing our tasting room in Lake Chelan for the season is bittersweet. We love seeing loyal fans returning from previous years and meeting new ones. Unfortunately, we have a small production facility and we only make around 2,000 cases a year, so we sell out. If you miss us, there are a few special events that we open for in the winter. The Guest House at Nefarious Cellars is another lovely way to enjoy the winery and our wines during the off-season. If you miss our wine, you can buy our wines online, at some grocery stores, and your favorite bottle shops.
99% of the people that come into our tasting room for wine tasting are wonderful. They ask great questions and they are here to taste, learn, and have fun.
Sometimes when people are on vacation they forget where they are or that normal rules of decorum apply. For example, please don’t talk on your phone with the speaker on in the tasting room. These kinds of things don’t happen that often, but they happen.
Whether you are shopping at your favorite wine shop or visiting wine country, here is some wine tasting etiquette so that you can help yourself have a more enjoyable experience.
- If you don’t like whites or don’t like reds, that’s okay. Let the staff know, and sometimes they can accommodate you. Sometimes. And you can be open to trying new things. I know that we have white wines that red wine drinkers appreciate and enjoy. They wouldn’t know about it unless I shared it with them. Sometimes, you will find something new that pleases your palate.
- Moderate the number of wineries you visit or how much you are imbibing. It’s okay to share a tasting, spit, or dump if you have a long day ahead of you. Sometimes at the end of a day of tasting, the wines and wineries will run together turning a wonderful experience into a forgettable one.
- It’s nice to buy wine at the wineries, but not required. Many wineries will waive their tasting fee if you purchase a bottle or two depending on their guidelines. We understand the limitations of airplanes and trunk space. Many wineries will also ship wine to you. Taking wine home is a great way to celebrate a memorable trip to wine country.
- When sharing your opinion, keep it positive. For example, instead of saying that you don’t like it, try comparing the wine that you tasted to the tasting notes or noticing what other flavors are present. Wine tasting is about more than finding what you like. It’s also about discovering new flavors and wines.
- Be polite. The people who work at the tasting room work hard to create a good experience for you. Sometimes, those working in the tasting room are the winemakers, the cellarmasters, or others who participate in the winemaking process. They enjoy answering your questions especially if you respect that they are sharing their hard work with you.
- If you are part of a large group, seven or more, call ahead or go to their website to make a reservation. A large group can easily overwhelm a small tasting room. You can also call ahead or go online regarding kids and dogs. Not all facilities are set up to create a good experience for your babies and fur babies.
- It’s okay to tip for excellent service, just like you would at a restaurant. Often, you can learn more about wine from the winery staff than you could in a lot of other places.
- Planning your schedule and wine tasting route is helpful. Consider a hearty breakfast, snacks, and where to stop for lunch. Even then, you may need a wine nap before dinner.
- Get rid of the gum in your mouth before wine tasting. Other things like brushing your teeth or eating mints right before you taste can also affect your palate. Keep that in mind when you go to your first tasting of the day.
- While we want you to be comfortable and enjoy yourself, please don’t smoke marijuana in the parking lot and then come into the tasting room with your pipe in your pocket. At the very least, the aroma messes up the nose of the wine. Maybe this only happens in Washington and Colorado. (I wouldn’t have added this if it hadn’t happened more than once this summer.)
Yes, we’re Nefarious, but we’re not that nefarious.
Prepared with a little wine tasting etiquette, now you are ready to go wine tasting! Until April, you will also find us available for wine tasting at the following locations:
November 9th 3-5pm Haggen in Burlington
November 10th 5-9pm Plateau Wines in Enumclaw
November 16th 6-9pm All Things Wine in Renton
November 17th Hellam’s Vineyard in LaConner 1-6pm
December 1st 2-5pm Haggen in Woodinville
December 15th 1-5 pm Seattle Wine Company in Bellevue
January 23rd 5-8pm The Grape Choice in Kirkland