It’s quite simple: walk into the tasting room, and you should be greeted by a member of the tasting room’s staff. They will introduce you to the winery, the different wines, the suggested order of tastings, and so forth.
The tasting room staff may hand you a sheet of paper noting the wines available for tasting. The sheet may show the wines’ vintage, varietal, appellation, alcohol strength, price, and tasting notes indicating the flavors and aromas to look for when sampling the wine.
You do not have to sample any wine. You can choose to sample only one wine, or you could try all of them. It’s your decision.
When tasting wines, you are not required to drink the entire sample. The winery will have a small bucket, in case you want to pour out the rest of the sample. In addition, tasters are encouraged to spit out the wine into the bucket. This prevents them from imbibing too much alcohol (those ounces add up fast!). Spitting allows tasters to sample wines throughout the day, without having their senses overpowered by the alcohol.
Wine drinkers are often nervous about their first visit to a winery. However, once they arrive, and notice other visitors around them, and are greeted by the tasting room staff, their fears are overcome with excitement about the fun ahead!
Remember to be mindful and respectful of the winery’s property and tasting room. If you have the chance to view some of the barrels, resist the temptation to touch them. Do, however, pick up the bottles, read their labels, and wander about the tasting room a bit. There are usually pictures, paintings, photographs, books, wine accessories, and other things to examine during your visit.
When you are at a tasting room, don’t be concerned about demonstrating your knowledge of the winery, its wines, or anything else. You, as with the other visitors present, are there to enjoy yourself, and learn about the wines in front of you. Oregon wineries are truly a fun place to visit. Give them a chance, and you’ll see for yourself why they are so special.