wine tasting tours for beginners

Wine Tasting Tours: A Step-by-Step Beginners Guide

If you’re a newer wine fanatic, you’ve probably considered embarking on your first wine tasting tour. Wine tasting tours are a must for wine enthusiasts, but many newcomers are intimidated by this “high-class” venture. How difficult can it be to understand the beauty of a good sip of wine? Don’t worry, in this beginner’s guide, we’ll be covering all the fundamentals of wine tasting tours. With this blog, you can focus on partaking in the exquisite selections of wine instead of whether your outfit is formal enough for a wine tasting tour. 

tasting red wine at a wine tasting tour

Step 1: Researching and Planning your Wine Tasting Tour

First, you need to find out where you’re going to have your first wine tasting tour. This is an important decision, so you should consider a few factors before you make your choice! Decide how far you’re willing to go: are you going to a winery in your city, or are you aiming for something more, like Napa Valley in California, or even Bordeaux in France? Look into wine regions and vineyards that interest you. Think about elements like location, types of wine produced, tour options, amenities offered, and of course, your own personal preferences. It’s best to find a winery that matches your personal preferences, but don’t be afraid to experiment with new flavours. 

Step 2: Booking Your Wine Tasting Tour

Once you’ve chosen the winery you’ll be touring, book your tour in advance. Most wineries will be packed during the peak summer season, and will require reservations for their tastings. The safest bet is to book reservations no matter what. You never know how busy a winery may be when you’re looking to tour. Look for a wine touring package that suits you and your budget, whether that be a wine tasting experience hosted by a sommelier, or a self-guided tour.

If you’re open to starting small, you can have your own wine tasting from home.

Step 3: Understanding The Wine Basics

The research portion isn’t over yet. Brush up on your familiarity with commonly-used wine terminology, and practice your wine tasting technique. If you didn’t know already, there’s a formula to wine tasting, but don’t panic! Once you get the hang of it, you’ll quickly find the proper wine tasting technique will become second nature. Do some research into the various types of wine grapes, wine styles, and wine regions if needed. Most importantly, gain a grasp of how to properly evaluate wine using your senses, sight and smell as well as taste!

Wine tasting tours are not for getting drunk. During your tasting, focus more on savouring the flavour and evaluating the wine with a clear mind.  

If you want to look like a natural, follows the 5 S’s:

  • Sight: Evaluate the wine’s colour and opacity.
  • Smell: Take in the wine’s natural aromas.
  • Swirl: Swirl the wine glass to release more of the natural aromas and flavours.
  • Sip: Take a small sip of the wine, fully coating your tongue and palate.
  • Savour: Instead of immediately swallowing the wine, swish it in your mouth so you can get a better understanding of the flavour.

If you’re looking for more insight, our blog on wine tasting at home dives more into the actual process of a wine tasting.

Step 4: Dressing To Impress 

As much as wine tasting tours seem like a high-class affair, the typical dress code isn’t as formal as you would imagine. Feel free to dress comfortably, with semi-formal attire that is ideal for standing, walking, and sitting for long periods of time.

Important note: perfumes, colognes, and body mists are an absolute no-go here! They can interfere with you and potentially other guests’ ability to smell the wine samples. 

Step 5: Set Yourself Up With Hydration And Snacks

Some wine tasting tours may include other hydration and snacks as part of their amenities, but others will not. It’s important to make sure you have a good amount of water and snacks with you. Even if you aren’t worried about eating during the tour, snacks, along with water, serve as a great way to cleanse your palette. Emphasis on snacks here: you don’t want anything too heavy, in this case a light snack like crackers or even a humble amount of bread is perfect. You don’t need to end the tour on a full stomach, so keep note of that when selecting what to bring. 

Step 6: Take Notes During Your Wine Tasting

This step may be more optional than others, but definitely worth considering. By taking note of your tastings, you can keep track of what wines you enjoyed and adjust your preferences for future wine purchases. There are also many apps on the market specifically for wine tasting tours that let you take notes as well. 

Step 7: Enjoy Your Wine Tasting Experience

More important than any other step on here, enjoy the experience! Don’t overthink, let yourself be immersed in the gorgeous vineyard landscapes and palatable wine options. You should always feel free to ask questions and gain more insight on the wine you’re tasting. Wine tasting tours are all about creating an experience where you can enjoy and savour the moment.

If you follow these steps, there’s no possibility that your first wine tasting tour won’t be a (wine bottle) smashing success.

To living a full-bodied life,


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