For some, the tasting room is uncharted waters and with that comes a bit of uncertainty regarding proper etiquette when visiting a winery. To alleviate any reservations that may be had by expectant visitors, d’Art Wines has compiled a list of suggested etiquette to get the most out of your visit at any tasting room.
• No perfume or heavily scented products- We love your perfume as much as you do but sadly, many others in the room may be allergic or have a sensitive olfactory system, which will interfere with their tasting experience and has the potential to hinder yours as well. Remember, wine tasting is a journey of the senses- sight, smell, and taste.
• Hydrate and stay nourished- It is highly advised to drink plenty of water before, during and after your tasting experience. Some wines contain higher levels of alcohol, which may contribute to accelerated dehydration. Additionally, you will want to cleanse your palate between samples and water is just the tool to assist you with that. Also, food will go a long way in your winery stamina so please eat breakfast, or lunch and bring your favorite snacks!
• Please call ahead for large groups- To better accommodate a group's needs, wineries ask for groups of 6 or larger to call ahead so that we can arrange for enough staff on the day of your visit. We feel each and every guest deserves the same amount of attention so please give us ample warning to better serve you.
• Wear comfortable shoes- If you are planning on trekking through the vineyard or attending a picnic at the winery you are visiting, make sure you wear appropriate foot attire. Stilettos sink in grassy and dirt areas, and we all remember what happened in college when we went out drinking in anything higher than an inch.
• Skip the white outfit- Tasting rooms can become relatively congested areas with others wanting to spend their day tasting wine. Accidents happen, especially with red wine added to the equation.
• Give yourself enough time- Allot yourself one hour per winery you visit and be sure to give yourself enough travel time in-between. Being rushed and unable to enjoy your visit will only deter you from finding the wine of your dreams. To go along with this same idea, please do not arrive 10 minutes before closing- this does not leave adequate time to enjoy your visit.
• If you don’t have anything nice to say…- Not every wine is for everyone. While you may not like a wine you’ve just tasted, your friend and another tasting room visitor may love it. Vocalizing your opinion about a specific wine is one thing but overtly putting it down is another. So with this, we ask that each winery visitor tastefully express their personal preferences without discrediting a particular wine.
• Take notes- Throughout the course of your visit, you may experience a wine or two that really jumps out at you but keeping track may prove to be a bit challenging. Taking notes and jotting down highlights of each wine you taste is a great way to stay on track for your wine preferences.
Wine crystals are relatively misleading to those who are unfamiliar with them. It is often believed that these crystals are hardened sediment, cork rot, or broken glass fragments from the bottle itself. As it turns out, these beautifully formed crystals are anything but the aforementioned.
The crystals in question are actually what is known in the wine community as tartrate crystals and often referred to as “cream of tartar,” “wine crystals,” or “wine diamonds.” These crystal deposits form on the cork of a sealed wine bottle when tartaric acid and potassium, naturally found in all grapes, are bonded together during exposure to extreme temperatures, a process known as cold stabilization.
Cold stabilization extracts potassium bitartrate from the wine itself and helps to achieve flavors and aromas in wines. However, it should be noted it is important not to allow the wine to be exposed to such an extreme temperature for too long as the process has the potential to completely strip the wine of all aromas and flavors.
Many who find wine crystals in their wine should not be worried. The presence of the crystals pose no threat to the quality of the wine itself nor do they alter the flavor of the wine once the processing is complete. Consuming wine crystals is completely safe as well and possesses only a slightly bitter aftertaste when chewed.
Some wine lovers may find they are not keen on seeing the crystals in their wine. If seeking a way to remove the wine crystals, wine makers advise using cheesecloth to strain any unwanted diamonds or decanting the last quarter-bottle of the wine itself.