Wine tasting is a great way to experience different wines that a winery or vineyard may offer. It allows you to have small glasses of a variety of different types and flavors of wines which can help you determine which you may want to take home with you. It’s also a great way to spend an afternoon with friends or family while enjoying the views and comforts that the tasting rooms offer.
If you’ve never been wine tasting before you may not know what to expect. People who go wine tasting for the first time are sometimes surprised by what the wine tasting actually involves and what it doesn’t involve.
Because of this, we wanted to put together a quick guide that lets you know what you can expect from wine tasting and what sort of things you should not expect while at the tasting rooms.
How Long is a Wine Tasting Session?
The first thing most people are concerned about is how long each wine tasting session will last. The honest answer to this question is it can be as quick as you’d like, or it can extend for hours. Most tasting rooms right now have a time limit on how long guests can stay seated on any given day, so you may be limited to around 2 hours, but if you’re in a hurry, you can be in and out of a tasting room in less than an hour.
You’ll find that most tasting rooms will offer pours of 5-6 different types of wine during a single tasting, so if you decide to sip on the wines and take your time, that can take a while, but if you drink them down quickly, you’ll be done faster. We recommend taking your time and enjoying each of the different wines. In most cases the person pouring your wines will give you the backstory of each pour, the flavor notes, and any other information they find interesting about the bottle. You’ll then get a small pour of that wine to taste.
If you’re looking to experience more than one tasting room in a day, we would recommend around three different locations depending on how close they are together.
By visiting three different wineries and tasting rooms you’ll get to experience a large variety of different wines while also not getting to the point where you’re too intoxicated.
We do however recommend looking into a car service if you do not have a designated driver as you may be a little impaired by the end of the day.
Sommelier and Privacy
If you’ve ever been to a nicer restaurant with a sommelier, you may sometimes notice that they can be slightly overbearing at times. This leads some people to believe that when you go wine tasting you won’t be able to sit and enjoy your wine while talking amongst your friends and family, but this is absolutely not the case.
The attendant at the tasting room that pours your wine is not always a sommelier, but they will give you some background on the wines you are tasting as they are pouring them. Once the round is poured they will leave you to enjoy and check on you every once in a while to see if you have any questions or are ready for the next pour. They will not linger around the table or encroach on your tasting if you don’t want them to, that’s not what they are there for. Their job is to explain the wines that the winery or tasting room offers and allow you to taste it and hopefully buy a bottle before you leave.
So don’t worry if you’re not the most social person when it comes to strangers, wine tastings can be as open or as private as you would like.
Food at Winery Tasting Rooms
One thing that we always tell people coming into town for a day or weekend of wine tastings is to be sure you eat. We all know what happens if you start drinking, and drink a lot, on an empty stomach, and if you’re looking to enjoy multiple tastings throughout the day there’s nothing worse than being too intoxicated to early or being too hungover the next day.
Not all tasting rooms offer food!
Here at the Austin Hope & Treana Tasting Cellar we do offer a basic charcuterie board for our tasting guests, but we do not offer a full kitchen menu of any sorts. And this is common amongst the tasting rooms.
Majority of the tasting rooms will allow you to bring in outside food for you to eat while enjoying your wine, but it’s important to research this prior to your arrival.
We recommend having a nice big breakfast before your first tasting so that you can get some food in your belly before drinking. If you can find a tasting room that offers food, we would try to schedule that one as your 2nd tasting of the day which will probably be shortly after lunch time. Waiting until the 3rd tasting to have any food could ruin the end of your day, so be aware of that.
There are definitely some great tasting rooms in the Paso Robles area that offer delicious food, so be sure to do some digging while researching where to go.
Wine Tasting Anxiety
Wine tasting should not be an activity that makes you anxious or concerned. It should be a time to enjoy some amazing wines while looking out over the stunning landscapes of wine country. If you have any questions regarding wine tasting in general, or about how we at Hope Family Wines conduct our wine tastings, please feel free to contact us. We’re here to make your tasting experience as memorable as possible.