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How to Taste Bottles of Wine All Day: Spit vs. Drinking, Savor vs. Gulping

If you take a bite of a particularly ugly piece of candy, would you keep eating it?

If you take a sip of a particularly ugly glass of wine, would you keep drinking it?

No, you’d spit it out.

A rant on the difficulty of spitting wine instead of drinking wine was the beginning of this web site six years ago. Asking for spitting cups has changed little since then.

” You can’t taste it all if you’re drinking all day!”WilliamHodge.com Copyright 2013

Providing spit cups to tasters is out of character for wineries because so few people just taste. The throngs are there to drink. But if you want to taste wine all day, you can’t drink all day. You have to spit and clear your palate.

We’ve attended consumer wine competitions and trade tastings (see our entry by the name of ‘1000 Bottles of Wine’) where staff carted away gallons of tasters’ discarded wine. At the now defunct Consumer Wine Awards in Lodi, CA our job was tasting 30+ wines in a three-hour shift (sure miss those consumer competitions.) We were spitting it all.

“Sip and spit and if the wine does not sing for you, pour it in the spit bucket and move to the next wine. “

You can’t taste it all if you’re drinking all day!

How many wineries do you want to visit in a day? One or two, or 4 to 5 to 6? Our preference is at least five and will try to stretch it out to six by spitting our way through tastings.

On a recent trip two couples traveling with us couldn’t make it to a third tasting because they drank all of their samples from the first two wineries. It was a short day. They were tipsy and in need of a nap.

So our recommendation is slow down. Sip and spit and if the wine does not sing for you, pour it in the spit bucket and move to the next wine. Then, ask the bartender where they want you to go next.

You’ll find experienced wine bartenders respect you when spitting and they are more likely to bring out the reserves they keep hidden under the bar for special customers.