Six suggestions for wine tasting hosts


The level of hospitality shown by producers is often very high, and I am grateful to them all.  However some tastings offered could be even better, and with very little effort and cost.  For all wine producers who host wine tastings for small groups, here are 6 things that are sometimes neglected.  Please don’t see them as demands, but as suggestions to be considered if you want to present yourself in the best possible light.

  1. A comfortable environment.  Outside can work, but often it is too hot, cold or windy.   Usually inside  – with a cool temperature and good lighting –  is best.
  2. Somewhere to rest glass and notebook .  A place to sit is nice, but I’d much rather stand by a bar-height table or ledge than have a chair with no table.
  3. A white surface, to show the colour of the wine.  If the table top is white that’s great.  If not, something like a sheet of A4 paper would be fine.
  4. Basic information about each wine.  The official designation, vineyard if on the label, the grape variety or blend, vintage, alcohol content. Give the information clearly, and repeat it.  Leave the bottle with us after pouring so we can see the label.
  5. Good access to spitoons.  And not just for emptying glasses – even amateurs sometimes want to spit.
  6. Serviette, or sheet of paper towel.  There are nearly always dribbles of wine to be dealt with.

I cannot emphasise point 4 enough.  You the producer are familiar with your wines, and are very keen to let us taste and give us more detailed information about the wine, but if we do not get the basic information all is lost.  Remember language barriers, and the fact that it might not be so easy to hear at the far end of the room.  In fact I would sugggest that, if at all possible, you  provide a sheet of information customised to the particular tasting you are giving us.  You could prepare a computer file with all your current releases, and delete the wines not being offered before printing it out.

Author: Steve Slatcher

Wine enthusiast

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