Wine tasting isn’t just for people who already love wine. It’s also a great experience for anyone interested in branching out from any beverage of choice… even beer.
Whether you’re tired of dealing with the bloating that beer often causes or just want a slightly more sophisticated beverage in hand at social events, it’s time to go wine tasting.
This guide will help you find your favorite wine in a single fun afternoon with friends. Here’s what you need to know before you go to a wine tasting, particularly if you’re used to slamming pints at the local bar:
Follow Proper Wine Tasting Etiquette
If you’ve gone to beer tastings, you know you’re supposed to swallow a sip of every beer you try. This is the only way to truly detect the flavor in each variety. This is because beer is carbonated, which means that with every sip of beer you take, some CO2 rises from your throat up to your nasal passages. Essentially, both your tongue and your nose are involved in figuring out the flavor of each beer.
But with wine, there’s no CO2, so there’s no need to swallow to get the full flavor. Instead, you can put your nose into the glass, inhale and take a sip. Then swish the wine around, leaving it in your mouth for about 10 seconds, at which point you can spit it into one of the spittoons the winery should have available.
While spitting isn’t a requirement, keep in mind you can expect to taste several wines throughout the day, and spitting can keep you from getting intoxicated early on. After all, wine typically has more than double the alcohol content of beer, so spitting is recommended if you plan to taste more than a few wines.
Wine for Beer Drinkers
It’s not unusual for beer drinkers to switch over to wine at some point in life. In fact, there are some wines that are known for providing a great transition from beer. To start, if you’re a fan of lagers or pilsners, try champagne, as it’s refreshing and bubbly. Another light, refreshing option that could replace your lager or pilsner is Pinot Grigio.
If you like IPAs, try a Petite Sirah, which has the slightly bitter taste you crave. If wheat ales are your thing, try out a buttery Chardonnay. Fans of pale ales tend to like Pinot Noir because it’s light and not bitter. And, if you prefer brown ales, you might like Merlot or Cabernet, as they are a little nutty and toasty. Of course, you can always try a bit of everything until you find your favorite!
Pair Your Wine With Tasty Snacks
Whichever wines you choose, be sure to pair them with some cheese. More specifically, go for blue cheese when you’re drinking a bold wine like Riesling, Chianti, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec or Pinot Noir. Choose cheddar if you’re sipping on Chardonnay, Pinot Gris or Merlot. And try some Brie or Camembert to go with your Champagne, Cava or Prosecco.
Overall, it’s most important to have fun at your first wine tasting. And that should be easy to do now that you know a little about the etiquette, the wines you’ll probably like and which cheese you should enjoy with your vino!
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.