It recently dawned on me that the jargon used day to day, makes perfect sense to me, but not necessarily for everyone - and maybe as a result, I might be missing some potential customers!
So bringing things back to basics is the aim with this blog to either inform, educate or simply to dispel the wrong ideas and make coming on a wine tour with us even more appealing!
You can be someone that has never had a drop, to a complete expert, the experience for every single person on the planet is a different one - Unique to you! How cool is that?
A wine tour is a learning experience. So if you don't know anything about wine before you go, that's OK. While most wine tours are filled with other people who want to learn, it's easy to feel intimidated the first time you attend one. Knowing the proper way to taste wine may give your confidence a boost but don't worry, most hosts and winemakers are more than happy to talk to you about their craft and answer any questions you have (There are NO silly questions!)
Typically on a Wine Tour, you will visit 4-5 vineyards and/or cellar doors or wineries, whichever you prefer to call them! Each one will be different from the one before, whether that's because of location, different grape varieties or simply the winemaker.
When you enter the wine tasting room or cellar door, your host will greet you with several samples of wine. The host will pour one sample and describe both the smell and the taste. Hold the glass up to the light and notice the color. A bright, clean color signifies quality. Tilt the glass slightly to the side. Younger wines will maintain uniform color throughout, while older wines will lose their coloring and become translucent close to the rim.
Smell the wine before drinking. The scent of vinegar or prunes signify that something went wrong with the aging process. The wine is either too acidic (vinegar scent) or has been exposed to air and has oxidized. Wine that has oxidized will develop a prune-like scent and an off taste similar to cough syrup. Smells of flowers, vanilla, coconut, oak and even toasted bread all signify quality wine.
Take a small sip of the wine and let it spread through your mouth. Concentrate on the different flavors of the wine. Listen to how the host describes the flavor and compare that to how it tastes in your mouth. (Again it is your experience)
Next comes the part that many people find awkward: Do you swallow the wine or spit it out? - Hmm, for me there's no question here! Swallow!!! but either is perfectly acceptable. They'll be spitting buckets available if you choose not to drink.
Over the course of one day, a person on a guided wine tour may end up sampling 12 to 18 different wines, but they aren't full glasses - you can measure by rule of thumb, 4-5 tastings equals about 1 standard drink in Australia.
The host will begin the tasting by offering samples of dry white wines and move to dry reds. The dessert and other sweet wines are saved for last. Wine tours are great fun, and there's no reason to worry about a stuffy atmosphere. If you show up prepared to learn and are interested in broadening your wine tasting horizons, you're sure to enjoy yourself.
It's not wanky, it's really a perfect way to spend the day with a group of friends, family or work colleagues, learning about the different varieties of wine, seeing different vineyards and meeting a broad range of amazing and often quirky wine-makers! Mixed with a delicious lunch, great company and more often than not, a fun vibe, you really should just book a tour and find out for yourself!