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Wouldn’t it be great if you could sample a restaurants’ cuisine before you decided to commit your dollars and your evening to the chef’s “vision?” What if you could try the Alaskan King Salmon at the market for freshness before you brought it home to prepare?

You can with wine. There are hundreds of tastings year round in wine shops, at charity events, in restaurants and at local wine festivals. Wine is subjective and tasting is the only way to learn what you like. Wine tasting is a fun social outing that is educational and a great way to expand your social circle with little or no cost.

Whether you are a novice or an old pro, follow these 10 simple steps and impress your friends, learn something new and maybe taste that special bottle hidden under the table reserved for the guest who “GETS IT.”

1. Color Coordinate Your Tasting.
Do all the whites and THEN all the reds… OR do all the reds and then the whites (some people prefer this when there are a lot of wines) BUT NEVER commit the vino faux pas by lapping white, red, white, red. You won’t be able to really taste anything that way.

2. Don’t Pull Your Glass Away While Someone is POURING WINE In It.
This should be obvious, even after a few glasses have settled in, but trust me, it’s not.

3. Don’t Push Your Glass Up Against The Bottle While Your Host is Pouring.
You wouldn’t believe how annoying this is – not to mention awkward and painful for the person pouring. If you’ve been over poured, use the dump bucket available on every table.

4. Don’t Rinse Your Glass With Water.
If you rinse your glass with water, your wine will be WATERY. The real pro’s ask to rinse with a tiny bit of the wine they’re about to taste.

5. Take Notes.
Wine is an alcoholic beverage and if you’re tasting a lot of wine, you’ll never remember what you liked or didn’t. Which brings us to…

6. Use the Spit Bucket.
Again, this is an alcoholic beverage so unless you want to go home with cases and cases of wine that you can’t recall buying, spit it out.

7. Rely on Your Nose.
Always smell the wine first. If it doesn’t appeal to you, then don’t taste it. Palate fatigue is a reality.

8. Drink Water.
This will help cleanse and refresh your palate and it will help keep you from getting too tipsy and dehydrated.

9. Taste or Smell Through the Entire Line.
There’s nothing worse than asking to only sample the top wine at the table. You won’t understand the winery or the region and you’ll frequently miss out on the bargains.

10. Ask Questions (Especially if There are Other People Around)
For the most part, that person behind the table is a wealth of information and may even be the winemaker, winery owner or Master Sommelier. Wine people come from all walks of life and beginning a conversation at a table may not only lead you to a special “under the table” treat but also introduce you to a new social circle.  

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