A Beginner’s Guide to Wine Tasting: Sip, Savor, and Enjoy

Wine tasting can seem intimidating if you’ve never done it before, but many find the experience to be delightful and approachable once it’s demystified. The Dundee Hills have always been known for hospitality, and you’ll find this region to be a welcoming and ideal place to taste wine for your first time! 

There are so many reasons to add wine tasting to your repertoire: It’s a fantastic venue for a first date as it offers both a directed activity with time to chat and an obvious ending time. It’s also an unbeatable activity for a rainy afternoon when you’re looking for something to enjoy indoors. And, for those who are tried-and-true Oregonians, there’s nothing more quintessentially “Oregon” than Pinot Noir.

Here are eight tips to help you feel comfortable and confident as you embark on your wine tasting journey, right in the heart of Oregon’s premier wine region.

  1. Relax and Enjoy the Experience: First and foremost, remember that wine tasting in the Dundee Hills is about enjoying yourself. There’s no need to feel pressured or nervous. Take a deep breath, relax, and savor the moment. Wine tasting is as much about the experience as it is about the wine itself.
  2. Wear What Makes You Confident: While some regions lean toward dressy attire for wine tasting, the Dundee Hills doesn’t have a dress code. You’ll fit in if you’re dressed to the nines and you’ll fit in with denim and boots. Oregon is a come-as-you-are state, and we hold that ethos dear in our tasting rooms.  
  3. Hold the Glass Properly: When you’re picking up a wine glass, hold it by the base of the stem. This prevents the heat from your hand from warming the wine, which can affect its flavor.
  4. Observe the Wine: Take a moment to look at the wine in your glass. Notice its color and clarity. The Dundee Hills are renowned for their Jory soil, which imparts distinctive qualities to the wine. Swirl it gently to release its aromas and observe the “legs” that form on the inside of the glass.
  5. Smell Before You Sip: Aromas play a significant role in the wine-tasting experience. Stick your nose into the glass and inhale the wine’s bouquet. Try to identify the various scents, which can range from fruity and floral to earthy and spicy. Don’t worry if you find this difficult. It does take time and you know what they say: practice makes perfect.
  6. Take Small Sips: When you’re ready to taste the wine, take a small sip. Let it coat your palate and pay attention to the flavors that emerge. Consider the wine’s taste in terms of fruitiness, acidity, sweetness, and tannins—all influenced by the unique terroir of the Dundee Hills. It’s also acceptable to use the dump bucket for the excess wine in your glass.
  7. Ask Questions: If you’re at a winery or tasting event, don’t hesitate to ask questions. Tasting room staff are more than happy to share their knowledge, recommendations and stories about the wines and winery. Asking questions can enhance your understanding and appreciation of wine. Check out this blog post for suggested questions.
  8. To Buy or Not To Buy: It’s common for wine tasting to conclude with an offer to purchase wine or join a wine club. If you enjoyed the wines, buy what you are comfortable purchasing and if you want to join the club, please do but know there is not an obligation.

We hope these tips make you feel at ease during your first wine-tasting adventure. Remember to relax, trust your senses, and savor the moment. Don’t forget: Everyone was new to wine tasting at one point in their life. Cheers to your next adventure–and maybe a new hobby!

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