A Connoisaurus’ guide to wine tasting events.

Things are moving and shaking for me and I’ve been invited to a Cali wine trade tasting event here in Ottawa. Consuming copious amounts of alcohol in small amounts of time usually equates to being blacked out in a corner spewing in the plants. No i’m not speaking from experience, although I have seen some pretty um trollied people at these events. Sure everyone loves to have a good time and get a buzz off some fancy wines but why not learn a thing or two along the way…
That being said here’s my guide to surviving a wine tasting:

1 – Have a game plan
Summer coming up? Look for summer sippers.
Stuck in a wine-funk? Make a point to go around and try varieties you’ve never tried before.
Want to know about a certain region? Go to the table, taste, ask questions, and take notes.
Having a plan allows you to attack the wines and actually get something out of the event besides red teeth and a headache. Unless that’s your thing then make sure you keep hydrated and invest in those mini portable toothbrushes. They’re god sent.


Extreme redteethitis

2 – Swirl and Sniff
Smelling wine is oh so important. They say roughly 80% of the flavours we taste comes from our sense of smell. So get your sniffer in there and take a whiff…

3 – What’s that noise? It’s the slurping sound of successful tasting.
That strange slurping sound you hear people emitting is air into your mouth. This allows the wine to roll around your mouth so that the full spectrum of the wine can be accessed.
Just purse your lips and suck in a little air… Voila you sound profesh.

4 – That time when spiting in public is not only accepted, it’s encouraged!
Sure everyone loves Jennasaurus but she belongs in the karaokee club, not meeting winemakers and sales reps for the first time. The only way to avoid being Jennasaurus is to spit. They even have special buckets for you to spit out that $80 Cabernet. Like everything in life there’s an art to spiting in public. The masters can even spit at a distance… it’s something I to aspire too. My tip is to aim for the sides of the vessel, splash back is disgusting. The people at Wine Folly have summed it up perfectly here: How to Spit Wine. My favourite part is this little titbit:


Still sticking with your “I don’t spit wine” theory? Yeah didn’t think so.

5 – Take notes
You’re there to learn, try some new things, and revisit old favorites. The best way to remember (especially when you’ve chopped through it all) is to scribble down something. I have a little book I bring along to most tastings or you can use the provided portfolio to take notes. Since its not formal you won’t have time to take full notes so one of two key words. I like to add in a little heart or star if I really like whats happening in the glass.


A few pages from a trade tasting. Just a few keys words and stars.                                                                   Excuse the handwriting it starts getting a little fuzzy towards the end 😉

What else? Oh yeah have fun!
In the end that’s what wines all about.

Happy wine tasting 😉



8 thoughts on “A Connoisaurus’ guide to wine tasting events.

  1. Yup, distributor tasting was an eye opener the first time, learned quickly to use my nose lots and keep good notes since there was so very much to take in during that short time. Excellent advice.

  2. Pingback: Tasted: California Wine Trade Day | Connoisaurus

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