Guide to Getting the Most Out of Your Wine Tasting » BALLOONS ABOVE THE VALLEY

Wine tasting can be a fun, social, shareable, and even a truly educational experience. True, many winetasters see the experience as just a social, fun activity, and the real tasting is an additional activity.

Whether your upcoming wine-tasting tour is your first or one of many, think about really tasting, understanding, and detecting the nuances and flavors of each wine.

Here are some ideas to consider as you prepare for your next serious winetasting.

Getting Started: Begin with a Clean Palate

Before starting, avoid strong flavors like mints or gum that can later interfere with your ability to distinguish the subtleties of the wine. Water and plain crackers are neutral enough to cleanse. 

Observe the Wine

Hold the glass by the stem to avoid warming the wine in the glass. Pay attention to the color and clarity of the wine.

Tilt the glass to observe the wine’s color and clarity. Note the wine’s color at the rim and the center, usually an indicator of the wine’s age and varietal. 

Swirl the Wine

Holding the glass by the stem, gently swirl the wine to release its aromas. The action causes the wine to contact the atmosphere, which will enhance both the flavor and aromas.

Smell the Wine

Place your nose to the glass and take some short sniffs. Pay close attention to the different aromas. Swirl the wine again and take a deeper sniff. The process will help you enjoy and identify the wine’s bouquet, a truly essential part of winetasting.

Sip and Savor

It’s time for the tasting part. By now, you should understand a lot about the aromas, appearance, and texture of the wine. Take a tiny sip and let the wine coat your palate.

Note the different flavors as you pass the wine over your tastebuds, moving the wine to different parts of your mouth. Not the wines’ body, sweetness, and tannins that create the unique mouthfeel and taste. Notice how the wine flavors evolve, and begin to understand the nuances of the wine.

Consider the Finish 

The finish is the taste that lingers after you swallow. Higher-quality wines often demonstrate a longer finish, so it is important to pay close attention to see the result. Do not rush.

Use the Spittoon

Consider using the spittoon supplied at wine-tasting events. Wines contain alcohol, and several wines will begin to fog your judgment. Keep your senses alive and accurate by pacing yourself throughout the tasting.

Take Notes

Make the most of your experiences by using a notebook or a winetasting app to register your thoughts and impressions.

Experiment with Food Pairings 

While tasting and assessing the wines may be your main objectives, try pairing different wines with available food options. This is a step beyond the wine-tasting activity, but it can be enjoyable.

Hydrate Between Tastings

Drink water between each wine to clear your palate and refresh yourself between wines. This will help to keep the alcohol from having too much impact.

Respect the Host’s Guidelines

At a winery or tasting room, always follow the rules of the house. Their specific recommendations and details for the tasting are to be respected.

Enjoy the Experience

Don’t forget to relax and enjoy. The experience is about the enjoyment of the wines, so relax, enjoy the views, and engage in relaxed conversations with your fellow tasters and winery staff.

Make Reservations for Hot Air Balloon Rides with Balloons Above the Valley

While in Napa Valley, book a romantic, exhilarating, and safe morning hot air balloon ride with Balloons Above the Valley. The views are magnificent, the air fresh and clear, and the memories last forever.

Visit the Balloons Above the Valley website to learn more, make your reservations for one of our flights, or purchase Gift Certificates.

You can speak directly with one of our experts by phone at 1-800-464-6824.