First and foremost, the two of the most important things to keep in mind when you are going wine tasting is to approach each wine tasting with (1) an open mind and (2) a willingness to learn. This does not change whether you are a novice and you are reading this in preparation for your very first trip to wine country or if you are a seasoned wine tasting pro. Having an open mind and a willingness to learn will provide you with the foundation to discover and experience everything the winery has to offer.
One of Our Many Learning Experiences
We know first hand about how bias can influence a winery or a particular wine, however, we also have been able to overcome biases of particular wineries or varietals when we remained open and continued to give a winery or particular varietal a chance to impress. Early on, Matthew did not enjoy Sauvignon Blanc because he explained that Sauvginon Blanc’s contained too much of a sour grapefruit component for his palate. As a result, when he would go tasting he would attempt to see if he could replace Sauvignon Blanc with a different wine or he would not choose it when given the option. After hearing about why Matthew did not enjoy Sauvignon Blanc, the pourer at Pear Valley challenged Matthew to try their Sauvignon Blanc and he was promised a different taste of a new wine if he did not enjoy their version. Matthew accepted and was pleasantly surprised about how Pear Valley’s Sauvignon Blanc tasted compared to the others he had not enjoyed. With this experience, Matthew learned the importance of how wine making styles differ across wine regions and countries.
Winemakers are Artists
Winemakers are artists in their trade. Each winemaker has their own philosophy for the type wine they want to create. The winemakers use the type of terroir and climate where the vines are located to help determine their goals. The soil may be sand or it may be clay; the climate may be warm at day and cool at night or it may have coastal influences. All of this influences how the grapes grow, and therefore, how the wine tastes.
You may not enjoy how a particular wine tastes or an entire winery may not leave you impressed and that is perfectly natural. What you enjoy may not be what your friend enjoys or what you and your friend taste may be drastically different. The best part about wine is that it is perfectly ok to taste or smell something different from the person next to you. Each person experiences different tastes and smells because of the memories that the wine draws you towards.
At the end of the day even if you do not enjoy a particular wine or a winery, please conduct yourself with appropriate behavior out of respect for the artist, winery, and wine making process. Just because you do not enjoy a particular wine, does not mean that it was not made well. So if you find a wine that does not suit your palate, politely make use of the spittoon buckets that each winery makes available for people who decline to finish an entire taste.
However, if you allow yourself to enter a tasting room biased either against the winery or a particular varietal, you can end up missing out on a new experience, an experience that may have the ability to change your mind. Without having an open mind and a willingness to learn, Matthew would probably still refuse to drink Sauvignon Blanc.