Food & Drink / Tips & Tricks

Wine Tasting for the Quarter-Lifer: 3 Things to Know

This past weekend I was visited by my lovely Mother and I had the task of keeping her entertained. I loved having her in town but LA isn’t really her scene so I was determined to find an activity that she and I could both enjoy while she was here.  My mom and I have a lot in common we love to shop, eat amazing food, and we both love WINE! Our love for wine inspired me to book a weekend trip for us out of LA to the closest wine country I could find… Santa Barbara. While Santa Barbara isn’t really that far away from LA it feels like a whole new place so I figured it would be perfect.

I have only been wine tasting once and it was at a very small winery in Massachusetts. I knew this was going to be a little more intense but I wasn’t sure what to expect.  Being twenty something years old means that I don’t know too much about wine other than I love it. I couldn’t tell you which wines were earthy or which had a hint of pepper in them, all I can tell you is whether I like them or not. Boy, was I in for an experience wine tasting with people twice my age.

I booked a hummer tour for my mother and I. You hop up in this hummer and ride through the back roads of SB and hit up some of their wineries. The other members of our tour were a 40-something-year-old couple from Chicago and a 50-something year-old couple from New Hampshire. Both couples like my mother have been drinking wine for many years and have been on many wine tours unlike myself. They knew what they liked, what they didn’t like, and what to ask. Wine tasting with this group was an eye opening experience and taught me a little more about wine and how to approach wine tasting when your ultimate goal is not to just get drunk.

The three things I learned when wine tasting with my “elders.”

  1. It is not a race to see who can drink the most wine the fastest: Wine tasting is about enjoying the wine and really getting a feel for what you like and don’t like about each glass.
  2. Ask a lot of questions: That is why you are on a wine tour. You are there to learn about new wines and to expand your wine vocabulary. I learned more about wine in one day than I have in the past 3 legal years of drinking wine out of a bottle not the box.
  3. Enjoy yourself and try not to get drunk: I was a little tipsy on our tour but I made a point to drink water, eat amazing bread and cheese along the way, and pace myself. How are you supposed to enjoy a wine tasting when you can’t even taste the wine.

While these might not be life changing lessons and I don’t plan to apply them to my everyday wine drinking I hope they help you get a sense of why some people go wine tasting. I had so much fun and really enjoyed myself. I have a new-found respect for the art of wine tasting and wine in general, but don’t get me wrong– if I am ever to go wine tasting with my girlfriends, the story might be a little different than this one.

By Paige Sullivan

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