The Basics of Wine Tasting Etiquette in Willamette Valley

If you’re reading this, you’re probably planning a wine outing in Oregon’s wine country. There is an abundance of wineries to choose from; from Newberg to Dundee, no matter where you go, we promise it’s a great choice! You can feel confident there will be something for everyone to enjoy. However, to ensure you have the best experience, you’ll want to review what’s expected of you before you go. Here are the basics of wine tasting etiquette in Willamette Valley.

You Don’t Have To Be an Expert

Don’t worry if you don’t know a lot about wine. You’re still in good company, and there’s plenty of time to develop your palate so that you can choose a nice bottle or two to take home with you.

It doesn’t matter how much knowledge you have on the subject; as long as you present your opinion with confidence and respect, everyone can learn something new from the experience together.

The Basics of Wine Tasting Etiquette in Willamette Valley

Don’t Be Afraid To Ask Questions

There is a lot to take in when attending a tasting. The more you interact, the better your experience will be. Here are some questions to ask the winemakers and other experts:

  • What’s your winery’s story? How did it start?
  • Who makes this wine? What makes their style unique from others in the area?
  • Does anything unusual happen during fermentation that gives the final product its distinct taste and quality?
  • What’s your favorite thing about working at this winery?

Be on Time or a Little Early

One of the basics of wine tasting etiquette in Willamette Valley is to arrive at the venue a little early. This will help ensure that your fellow tasters receive the best experience possible. Arriving late will disrupt the flow of the tasting and cause others to feel rushed through their tasting process and miss out on some key information about each wine. Keep in mind that tasting reservations are generally recommended and even required in some instances.

Let the Server Know What You Want

The winery tasting room ambassador is the best source of knowledge. Please share your thoughts about each option and let them point the way to your new favorite wine. Try not to interrupt the server during the event—save your comments and questions for when it is appropriate. 

While the day is about sipping and learning, you must watch how much you drink. Becoming visibly intoxicated at a wine tasting event is a huge infraction. Overdrinking can lead to behavior that you may regret, and that influences the experience for everyone. Just remember that it’s ok to swirl the wine in your mouth to capture its essence then spit it out in the bucket provided by the winery.

The Basics of Wine Tasting Etiquette in Willamette Valley

Enjoy Your Time

Lastly—and most importantly—be sure to enjoy yourself and pay attention! Take notes on what flavors and aromas stood out for each type of wine; these will help guide future purchases when shopping at home or elsewhere between trips to the Willamette Valley.

For the most hassle-free experience, we recommend booking an overnight stay at one of Newberg’s many lodging providers and scheduling a wine-touring guide with one of our local services (Pinot Car or Black Tie Tours).

The city of Newberg has amazing opportunities to experience a wine tasting. You can have a fun, educational, and delicious experience if you know what you’re doing. Next time you’re looking to explore some of the finest wineries, keep these tips in mind!

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