Have you ever found yourself standing in the middle of the tasting floor at a wine show or festival and felt confused and overwhelmed, wanting to taste as many wines as possible but did not know where to begin?
Attending a wine event of any kind can certainly be a confusing and overwhelming experience that leaves you bouncing from table to table without a direction, other than circular.
On the other hand, attending a wine festival is an excellent opportunity to learn, taste new varietals and have fun with just a little bit of preparation. Apart from a few obvious tips, such as to eat a light meal before arriving, wearing dark clothes and comfy shoes, here are some tried, tested and true tips to help you make most of your experience.
2. Plan your tasting route: Visit tables from countries and wineries you haven’t had an opportunity to taste yet for maximum learning experience.
3. Keep your hands free: Check all heavy clothing and keep few essential things either in your pocket or in a small pouch over your shoulder so you can hold your tasting glass and make notes.
4. Decide on a tasting order: The traditional way would be to taste sparkling – whites – reds – dessert wines. To shake things up a bit, start with the whites, cleanse your palate with the sparkling and continue with reds.
5. Sniff, Swirl, Taste, Spit: There are a lot of wines available for tasting, keep your head clear and get in a habit of spitting. It may take a bit of practice to do it gracefully (if there is such a way), but it will allow you to taste a lot more and have a great tasting experience without seeing double on your way out.
7. Use your cell phone: In addition to taking photos of the bottles/labels, you can also record you own tasting notes and keep your hands free of a notebook, especially with a wine mobile app that has a barcode scanner like Natalie’s.
8. Have a glass of your favourite wine: After completing a tasting, return for a few ounces of your favorite wine, fill your plate with some tasty bites and find a quiet spot to enjoy it all while watching the wine world go by.
9. Have fun: Taste a little, learn a little and above all, enjoy the experience and people you meet on your tasting journey.
10. Get home safely: Pre-arrange for a safe trip home with a designated driver or take advantage of a complimentary public transportation ticket offered at many events.
From a very young age, Tania helped with picking grapes in her family’s Croatian vineyards as well as with wine making. Later, she lived abroad in London, England, Milan and Venice, Italy and explored the food and wine cultures while also traveling extensively throughout Europe.
While living in Toronto, Tania completed studies with the International Sommelier Guild. She continued her wine education with the prestigious, internationally recognized Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET), based in London, England, and in 2007, received the WSET Level 3, Advanced Certificate in Wine and Spirits.
In March 2013, Tania was awarded with a Certified Specialist of Wine designation by The Society of Wine Educators, based in Washington, DC, and is currently preparing for their Certified Wine Educator exam.
Tania has since started her own business and offers sommelier services, consulting and wine tastings via RunawayGrape Guided Gourmet Food & Wine Tastings.