The beautiful Okanagan Valley is known for its breathtaking views and scenic wineries. One of the best ways to enjoy them is on a guided Okanagan wine tour. Wine tours and wine tasting events are a fun way to learn about what you like and don’t like. It also means being able to try many different kinds of wine without having to invest in a full bottle.
No matter how experienced you are, we’ve compiled a few wine tour tips so you’ll get the most out of your next wine tasting event or wine tour.
You Don’t Have To Be an Expert
Good news, wine lovers. You don’t have to know what “tannins” are or what “unoaked” wine tastes like to enjoy a wine tasting. While there is nothing wrong with enjoying and understanding the complexities of wines; it’s not necessary to have a good time. Wine is what you make of it and every wine drinker’s preference may differ. So, go ahead and throw all those rules you think you need out the window and enjoy your next wine tasting!
If you feel like your tour guide is speaking Greek when describing vineyards or varietals, feel free to ask a question. Most winemakers and wine connoisseurs love sharing their knowledge about wine with others. Or, before your trip, you could do a little research on the wineries you’ll be visiting and wines you may want to try.
Swish and Spit, or Swallow?
One of the most debated etiquettes during a wine tasting is whether to swish and spit or swallow. What’s the polite thing to do? Well, either.
This may be the only time in your life when it’s socially acceptable to spit out a wine you don’t enjoy. Or, if you’re drinking many wines in a short period of time, you may want to spit them out. However, you can swallow if you want to. You won’t offend the owners or those around either way. You may even want to take this opportunity to try a new wine you’d never try otherwise. If you are, we advise you stay close to the bucket.
4 Steps To Tasting A Wine
There’s more to tasting wine than just knocking it back. Remeber these four steps when you’re at your next Okanagan wine tasting event to feel like a pro at the tasting bar.
This may seem obvious, but the first step in tasting a wine is evaluating its appearance. What colour is the wine? How a wine looks can say an awful lot about the quality and origin of it. Usually, red wines that haven’t been aged start as a red with more dark purple tones. As most red wines age, they become paler, like red brick. For white wines, the colour tends to deepens as they age.
After checking the colour, give your wine a little swirl in the glass. Notice the oily film that stays around the glass – this is the legs of the wine. Many people think there is a correlation between a wine’s legs and its quality. However, the legs just indicate the alcohol content. The longer the legs the higher the alcohol content.
If you want to sound fancy, smelling the wine is also called “checking the bouquet”. Give it a gentle swirl in the cup and take a whiff. Young wines tend to smell fruity, while older ones will smell more complex.
Now, the moment you’ve been waiting for. Take a sip and let the wine roll around in your mouth. You may notice other wine connoisseurs slurping their wine. In this setting, it isn’t rude. When slurped, wine actually releases more of its flavours in your mouth. Then, spit or swallow the wine.
Hopefully, you’re even more ready for your next Okanagan wine tour! Here at Cheers Okanagan Tours, we have your choice of relaxing, leisurely full-day and multi-day wine tours and customizable 4-hour tours on our most popular itineraries.