Wine tasting events can be overwhelming, and even a little intimidating. Picture: Pexels

Last week, I was invited to a wine tasting event with Bouchard Finlayson Vineyards and a day with the Blacc Cellar Club, which was held at The Oyster Box hotel in Durban. 

It was my first time attending an event that was strictly about wine tasting as I usually attend wine and food pairings most of the time. 

Although I was a bit nervous and had fear of not knowing what to do or what to expect, it was a great experience and a lot of fun, but I feel if I came fully prepared for it I would have enjoyed myself even more. 

What really came to my mind after the event was, ‘how people can best prepare for their first-ever wine tasting’? Because it felt like I failed myself. 

So, whether you fancy yourself a wine connoisseur or you are just beginning to learn about great wines, these tips by Wine Spectator can lift our ambiance. 

According to the site if you're new to these events, they might seem overwhelming, and even a little intimidating. 

Dress for the event 

Dress in dark colours (the better to hide spills), avoid dangling sleeves (so you don't cause spills) and consider the venue to suss out the appropriate dress code. Women should consider wearing flats or low heels for comfort. If you have long hair, tie it back so you can spit easily or keep a hand free to hold it back. 

Don't wear fragrance

Smell is a huge part of tasting. It's impossible to appreciate all the aromas of a delicate Riesling or a layered Cabernet Sauvignon when the air is heavy with perfume, cologne or smoke, so be mindful not to introduce any unwanted aromatics to the tasting area - it's just proper tasting-room etiquette.

Eat something

Tasting wines (and maybe drinking too) on an empty stomach is a recipe for getting drunk quickly and not being able to enjoy the rest of the event. Remember to eat beforehand, and if there’s food offered at the tasting, take a break to eat there too. Drinking water in between wines helps to stay hydrated.

Remember to spit (at least most of the time)

Yes, you’ll be tasting good wines, and yes, no one likes to “waste” wine, but those tasting-size pours really add up - and quickly at that. To get the full experience of the event, you’ll want to pace yourself by spitting wine as you go.

Have fun 

Some people get very serious when they’re tasting wines, but remember it’s okay to smile and have a good time too. You’re tasting wine, not attending a tax seminar, and you will not be quizzed at the exit doors.