Your very first wine tasting

You’ve been invited to a wine tasting

Wine tasting - St. Helena, CA

If this is your first time at a wine tasting, don’t worry. They’re genteel affairs full of pleasant conversation and fine wine.

Dress well, but not to the point of discomfort. If the tasting is somwhere you’ll be walking around outdoors, prepare for sun or rain. Don’t wear perfume or cologne, or anything else with a strong smell. A big part of the pleasure of wine tasting is appreciating the nose of the wine. Speaking of which, be sure to breathe in the wine’s aroma before you take your first sip. Put the wine glass on a flat surface and swirl it a little. This is called aeration.

There’s a good chance there’ll be fees to taste. You may want to split your tastings with a friend, to keep from spending too much (to say nothing of drinking too much). There may be a spittoon available. Using it might seem gross and wasteful of good wine, but it keeps you from taking too much alcohol on board over the course of the tasting. This is important if you happen to have a low body mass or low tolerance for alcohol. As further precautions, drink water (which will also clear your palate) and eat something.

A wine club worth joining near St. Helena

Anderson’s Conn Valley Vineyards in Napa Valley, a 10-minute drive from downtown St. Helena, holds tastings in its barrel caves, where current releases and library wines may be sampled and visitors can learn all about the process of making and storing the wine. Anderson’s wines are sold online and in five locations in Napa Valley, and many other locations nationwide.

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