Vineyard tours can be an amazing experience for wine aficionados and newcomers alike. Make sure that you behave in a civilized manner when in the tasting room. Remember that you are at someone’s place of work and that they spend a tremendous amount of time, money and energy to make your visit pleasant.
Make a reservation if appropriate. Space in the tasting rooms is almost always limited so check especially if you have a party of five or more.
No perfume – Perfume or cologne will get in the way of the aroma and taste of your wines
Don’t be a know-it-all – Of all the things that will get old quickly is being a show off. Even if you know a lot about wine, don’t drone on about technical descriptions of the wines you are tasting.
Loud voices – Loud, rowdy conversations are not appropriate in the tasting room. People are learning and focusing on the experience. Don’t spoil it for them.
Dress code – Although it is acceptable to wear shorts (especially if it’s hot outside) inside the tasting room, it’s also nice to express some respect for the job that a vineyard does. Dress casual is a good rule of thumb
Don’t show up drunk – It is acceptable to drink the wine that is poured for you. It is not acceptable to use a vineyard tour as a pub crawl. What ever you do, please don’t show up drunk. The wine consultant is barred legally from serving you and all of the objections in the world will not change that. So if you’ve got a long tour planned for the day…
Moderate your intake – If you don’t want the rest of the glass that’s poured, please pour the remains in the dump bucket. In addition, to avoid the unpleasant situation above, it is fine to spit out the wine in your mouth. You can use the bucket or, ask for a cup if you wish.
Cover glass instead of expressing displeasure – If you find that you didn’t particularly like a specific wine, use some tact in showing that the glass doesn’t need to be refilled. Simply cover the glass with your fingers when the consultant goes to add more wine to the glass. This is far better than introducing negativity into the event by saying that you didn’t like a particular wine out loud.
Wait for the wine consultant to pour for you – This is a common mistake. Please wait for the wine consultant to pour your wines. Don’t ever pour for yourself.
Buy wine, don’t haggle – Come prepared to purchase wine if you enjoyed it. It is one way to bring back a reminder of the time you had. Keep in mind that this isn’t the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul so no haggling please. A little research before you visit should give you a ball-park for how much you should be prepared to spend.
Your tasting is arranged on purpose – Your glasses will be in a specific order determined by the vineyard. This is because the wines you will sample all have different characteristics and it is difficult to appreciate aspects of certain wines if they follow another. Learn to appreciate the sophistication they vineyard is presenting you.
A vineyard tour should be a relaxed, sophisticated affair where people learn and experience wines that have been chosen to represent the establishment. As you enjoy your day, please be courteous to your hosts and, if appropriate, express your gratitude verbally or by purchasing some of their wines.
Brandon Vallorani is a practiced entrepreneur and accomplished CEO, author of The Wolves and the Mandolin (ForbesBooks; 2017), and third generation Italian-American.
Founder of a media conglomerate recognized on the Inc. 5000 for five consecutive years, Brandon sold to a colleague in the business, and has more recently shifted focus to his other entrepreneurial endeavors.
Vallorani graduated from West Virginia University with a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts in Graphic Design, and began his career in the non-profit sector. He quickly rose through the ranks to become Executive Vice President in a few short years, simultaneously earning his Master of Business Administration from Thomas More College.
He lives in Metro-Atlanta, with his wife with whom he shares seven children, a son-in-law, and a grandson. In his free time, Brandon enjoys playing in casinos around the country, his three dogs, and learning Italian.