All About Wine Tastings

wine tastings

Wine tastings are one of the best ways to learn about wine and to get to sample several wines you may not have had the chance to taste alone. But what is a tasting and what are the options for different types of tastings? Well, first of all, a tasting is an organized event or party at which participants can sample numerous wines. The number of wines and participants varies by type and venue of course, but the general principle is that you are focusing on the wines to assess them. Generally, wines are presented which have something in common. For example, German Rieslings from 2006. Or it may be less specific, such as California Cabernets, or Syrahs from around the world. In larger trade tastings, there can be a number of different types of wines without much of a theme except that the wines are all current releases. To read a bit more about different types of tasting themes, check out our Tasting Themes section.

Types of Tastings

Here are a list of a few different types of settings or venues for wine tasting. If you are looking for info on types of themes for tasting events, see our Tasting Themes section.

  • Home Wine Tasting Party: Hosting a tasting party at home, or attending one, is an excellent way to enjoy tasting various wines with like-minded individuals. Because it is smaller and more personal, the conversation and tasting can be very relaxed and fun. You can learn more about them at our Wine Tasting Party page. Also, learn more about hosting your own party in our Hosting a Tasting section.
  • Wine Retailer Tasting Events: Most wine stores host tastings. These are either a drop in event at the store itself during business hours or they arrange themed wine dinners. Usually they are based around a specific theme like all wines from a certain producer, all Italian wines, all sparkling wines, etc. There is usually a flat fee to attend the tasting and sample all the wines offered. The prices vary depending on how many wines and which wines are being tasted, generally from $5 to $50. Some stores even have a "self serve" wine tasting bar which offers tastes by the glass of various wines they have for sale. You pay per taste so you can sample wines before you buy them. Contact your local wine retailers to ask whether they have these tasting events or a wine bar.
  • Organized Tasting Dinners: Some restaurants, wine shops or other wine organizations organize special dinners where wine is featured. Oftentimes this is centered around a specific producer or wine producing region with food paired to the wines. Sometimes wine producers or importers participate to present and teach about their wines during the dinner. Again, check with your local wine retailers to inquire about these types of events. You can also search the internet for these tasting dinners in your area.
  • Wine Country Wine Tastings: Of course one of the most fun ways to taste wine is to travel to the source! A tour of wine country is both relaxing and beautiful as well as educational. You can see the vineyards, get tours of the winemaking facilities and then taste the wines, sometimes even out of barrel! For more info on wine country tours and tasting wine at wineries, check out our Wine Tours section!
  • Wine Trade Tastings: If you happen to be lucky enough to get invited to go to a wine trade tasting, they can often be awesome experiences. Dozens of wineries or importers presenting their wines means you can often taste hundreds of wines in a single day! While this hectic and crowded atmosphere is probably not the ideal environment to quietly contemplate each wine, they can give you a chance to sample many different wines quickly.

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