Tasting Room Etiquette: From A Tasting Room Manager

When you work in the wine industry, you’ve seen a thing or two when it comes to wine tastings. Below are some of my Do’s and Don’ts when it comes to wine tasting etiquette

DO: Insist you only like Italian wine, do a tasting, and proclaim loudly after each taste that it’s nothing like Italian wine. Of course not, it’s French.

DO: Plop your child’s butt, or your own, on the tasting bar. We don’t mind disinfecting with bleach after you leave.

DO: Put the spoon of crackers in your mouth and then back into the bowl of crackers for others to use. It’s only considerate.

DO: Eat and hoard the crackers as though it’s your Last Supper.

DO: Demand we turn the Eagles game on the TV, even though the TV is for the music channels to add ambience. It’s okay to get pissed if we don’t oblige you. We like to compete with the Sports Bars down the road. 

DON’T: Be afraid to ask questions! We love to share our passion with you. 

DON’T: Be afraid to share your opinions of the wine. We love feedback as long as it’s done respectfully. 

DO: Pretend to know absolutely everything about wine to impress us and those around you, when it’s obvious you don’t. 

DO: Sling back the wine tasting like shots. Who cares what it tastes like as long as it gives you a buzz?

DO: Let your two year old child run around loose like a banshee, pushing the stroller like it’s a bumper car running into all the wine racks. We don’t mind if something breaks and you have to pay for it.

DO: Bring your three kids with you, all under five years old, to a two hour tour. Of course they’ll love adults talking and refrain from acting out from boredom. Screaming and hair pulling siblings are an added bonus.

DON’T: Be afraid to try something new. Part of the fun of wine tasting is branching out into things you haven’t tried before. Open up your wine mind!

DO: Think that tasting wine is all about getting your buzz on. Who cares about buying good wine from hardworking winemakers, learning about food and wine pairings, learning about the vines and the work that went into that shot you just threw back?

DO: Assume that riding on a tour bus/limo/van gives you a sense of entitlement at every winery you visit. Walk in loudly proclaiming “Let’s get the party started!” We promise we won’t cringe.

DON’T: Pay the tasting fee if you don’t purchase wine. After all, you’re entitled to free wine from a small family-owned business, right? It’s all about you and the limo you rode in on.

DO: Pull your glass away or raise it mid-pour to stop us from pouring more wine into your glass. We don’t mind having wine poured all over the bar and floor. It’s not like we have dump buckets where you could spit or pour the wine out if it’s too much.

DO: Wear your loudest, smelliest perfume or cologne to a tasting. We love mixing the cougar scent with our delicate wines. Delicious!

DON’T: Use your inside voice. We need to hear you from the bar to the front of the winery, and the next county over. Everyone absolutely must know what you have to say.

DON’T: Call and cancel your appointment if you can’t make it. It’s not like we brought in extra staff to provide excellent customer service for you, or arranged other appointments around yours to you have the best possible experience. Or told multitudes of others they can’t have that appointment time because it was already booked. 

DO: Steal the tasting glasses and take them home with you. We make tons of money at a small family-owned winery so we can always order more. Plus you want a glass that can’t even hold a full glass of wine. Makes sense.

DO: Grab the bottle from the counter and pour for yourself and others. It’s not like it’s illegal and we could lose our winery license for it.

DO: Bring alcoholic beverages from another place and open them on our deck to enjoy. It’s wonderful to know you support other wineries and like us enough to drink their wine on our deck. We’re honored!

DO: Put your tip in the dump bucket. We love spit and dumped wine.

DO: Ask to “revisit” everything you already tasted so you can make an informed choice about which wine to purchase. It’s not like you’re doing a second tasting for free.

DO: Ask if we’ll waive the tasting fee if you buy, have a case discount, is there an extra discount for wine club members, and if you can have the industry discount on top of that. The winemaker works a second job at a shoe store for the fun of it, not because he wants to make wine for a living.

DO: Buy the wine your wife wants – remember, happy wife, happy life. 

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