Relax. Take a deep breath. It’s going to be fine. You’re in good hands with the Penns Woods Winery tasting room staff, and we love curious newbies about as much as we love wine. And we love wine.
Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, check out these quick tips for a great intro to wine tasting. We can’t wait to see you!
When you arrive:
- Tell the tasting room staff it’s your first time—we’ll be gentle. Plus that way we can bust out all the info you need for a great experience.
- Ask lots of questions—not only is it OK, it’s encouraged. It’s cool to ask what you’re seeing when looking at the wine’s color and clarity or what you might taste when you sip. Then, give your opinion. There really is no wrong answer!
- Let the tasting room staff suggest a few wines for you to try. They may ask you questions about the kind of wines you currently enjoy, as well as beers, other liquors and even foods. Certain flavor profiles give us hints to what you might like—and you might not even know it yet.
- Wine tastings are always poured from lightest to darkest, so once wines are selected let the tasting room staff line ‘em up.
- Grasp the glass only by the stem so you don’t change the serving temperature of the wine or leave fingerprints to mar your view of our beautiful vinos.
- Gently swirl on a flat surface holding only the stem—we’ll give you a quick demo. This aerates the wine to express its full bouquet (fancy word for aroma).
- Observe by holding the glass up to light: what do you see? We’ll give our two cents about it, right down to why sediment can be a good thing.
- Inhale deeply, using one nostril like the pros, and consider closing your eyes to put your focus on your sense of smell. What do you detect? We’ll let you know what aromas we catch—sometimes they’re the same, sometimes not, and that’s OK, too.
- Taste with a sip, and swish it to cover all parts of your mouth. If possible, bring some air into that swish. What flavors do you taste? We have tasting notes, but you might want to experiment first and see what comes to mind when you sip our wine.
- Feel free to dump the rest of the taste if it’s not to your liking or to spit out the taste (no offense taken—really!). And of course, it’s A-OK if you choose to drink it all. Tasting pours are just an ounce.
- Safety first: if you’re doing multiple tastings at numerous wineries—spit it out. Spitting helps avoid getting tipsy so you can enjoy all the wines you’re sampling that day. Grabbing one of your friends to be the DD is another option; you can act as DD next time. Another great option in the beautiful Brandywine Valley: make it an overnight or a weekend—there are tons of great restaurants, accommodations and attractions within minutes of our lovely winery.
- The olfactory sense is important in wine tasting, so avoid wearing strong fragrances (or any fragrance at all), which helps you and your fellow wine tasters.
- Drink plenty of water, but don’t rinse the glass with water. The tasting room staff will manage your tasting experience and can pour water in a separate glass or offer you water bottles for purchase.
- Take advantage of crackers and other comped bar bites. These are for palate cleansing, not chowing down, so be courteous to your fellow wine tasters.
- We offer cheeses, chocolates, crackers and other goodies for sale. Consider doing an impromptu pairing; ask us what goes best with your nibbles.
- There are small tasting fees, plus other items for purchase in the tasting room. We also stock cool and kitschy gift items. Last but most certainly not least, you can buy your favorite wines, too.
That’s it! All you really need is an open mind and a curious palate. Your friendly Penns Woods Winery tasting room staff will do the rest! Check our hours and come visit us soon.
Penns Woods Winery is a family-run Pennsylvania winery. With more than 40 years of experience in the wine business, winemaker Gino Razzi and his daughter, Carley Mack, produce award-winning wines from Pennsylvania-grown grapes. Penns Woods wines can be found in restaurants throughout Philadelphia and its surrounding suburbs. Stop in to your local state store and pick from a limited selection of wines, or visit our tasting room for the full offering. The tasting room in Chadds Ford provides an all-around vineyard experience and hosts live music, food and wine pairings and other exciting events each weekend. Score Penns Woods Winery news in your inbox by signing up for our newsletter today!