Why do Some Wineries Make it Hard to ‘Taste’, Not ‘Drink’

When we speak about “WINE TASTING” it implies that you are not drinking, but you are tasting. Because after all, after 6 to 10 ounces of wine you can no longer really taste wine  subtleties. Which is why my new found method of “tasting” is to spit out the wine I just tasted.

It gives me a chance to really savor the wine. And I’ve noticed, that upon swallowing the taste changes. I haven’t quite wrapped my arms around this but will work on it for another post. Another side effect of “drinking” not “tasting” is that it feels decadent to drink wine that you may not love. I often say that you need to kiss a lot of ugly frogs while you are wine tasting to find your beautiful princess (or princess, depending on your gender.) Not every wine speaks to your  taste palette. But this is another post in the future.

Wineries are unhappy with the drunks that walk in the door (just ask the Foxen Canyon wineries about their experiences after the movie ‘Sideways’.) People stumbling from winery to winery drinking just for the sake of drinking is not their goal. I would suspect that most wine makers are more interested in customers enjoying the subtleties of wine and then buying them, not just getting inebriated.

So why do most wineries make it so difficult for customers to spit unwanted wine?

I’ve been into hundreds of wine tasting rooms and it is always difficult to find something in which to spit. Ask a bartender for a small plastic cup and they’ll tell you one of two things, one, they’ll ask you to spit in the bucket into which everyone pours excess wine. Or two, give you another wine glass so you can spit into it.

Now I contend that both of these methods are about as barbarian as National Football League bounties for player inflicted injuries. Nobody wants to see or listen to me spitting into a bucket. Nor do I want to put my head into a spit bucket. This is specially true when others have poured their saliva laden wine excess into the bucket! It’s just not civil. It reminds me of the old Western cowboy movies. A cowpoke walks into a bar and from 5 feet away spits into a spittoon. It’s noisy, dirty and un-befitting the elegant settings of wine tasting.

And then there’s the wineglass they offer! Who wants to see regurgitated wine and saliva in a clear glass? Give me something opaque and small that I can discreetly spit into without making noise, without putting my head in a bucket and with out expressed wine being visible to all the other tasters in the room.

All it takes is a stack of small Dixie cups into which I can discreetly express my wine. This way I can enjoy a day of wine tasting without feeling inebriated. And, I can enjoy a day of wine tasting safely, driving my vehicle from winery to winery.

Recently my wife and I  served as consumer judges at the Consumer Wine Awards Of Lodi (A town with over 80 wineries – go there!) We both tasted over 30 wines in two hours. Now one might wonder how they managed 120 of us after 30 tastes of wine, but you’d be surprised. We didn’t even feel the wine. Because we didn’t drink it.

Instead, we “tasted” and were able to differentiate between the different wines we drank over the two-hour period of time. It was a wonderful experience. So the next time you’re at a winery do some tasting, avoid the drinking.

Savor the wine you like and be safe driving from winery to winery.

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