Author: Sue Straight
I know this may sound gross, but when you are out wine tasting, spitting is an excellent idea. If you plan on tasting more than 5 or 6 wines, you may want to spit. Otherwise, you may be half-lit (or totally drunk, depending on how many wines you taste) by the end of the day. Here – I’ll do the math for you: Most wineries pour one-ounce pours and a standard flight of wines is anywhere from 4 to 6 tastes, although some wineries will pour upwards of 10 tastes. That equates to 4 to 10 ounces of wine tasted at every winery. If you only visit 4 wineries a day and swallow every taste, you will consume anywhere from 16 to 40 ounces of wine consumed. A standard glass of wine is 8 ounces, so you would be consuming anywhere from a glass to a bottle of wine during your tasting day. Hic.
Virtually all winery tasting rooms offer receptacles to dump or spit wine into (remember the scene in “Sideways”? Eeew!). Here’s a tip for you, though, before dumping or spitting, ask your tasting room server if the receptacle on the bar is indeed intended for dumping or spitting – I’ve had people dump wine in my coffee cup and that really pissed me off. If you don’t want to use a community dump bucket on the bar, a discreet way to handle the spitting situation is to bring your own “spit cup”. A disposable plastic or Styrofoam cup works really well. My personal favorite is a red plastic solo cup.
If the idea of spitting in public is just too far out for you, you may want to ask for small tastes and dump what you don’t want, share a glass with someone in your party, or stick to one or two varietals for the day. It’s also a really good idea to start your day with a big breakfast and drink lots of water during your day of wine tasting.
When I am judging a wine competition and tasting over 100 wines per day, spitting is imperative. I remember one competition where a judge didn’t spit and he was in really bad shape by the end of the day. His fellow judges lost a lot of respect for him, because when a person is drunk, their judgment is impaired and that doesn’t work at all when professionally judging wine.
I can tell you from personal experience, your tasting room host or restaurant server at the end of your wine tasting day does not want to see you drunk. It may be fun for you, but it’s no fun for us. We absolutely hate cutting people off. We are in the hospitality industry and our job is to entertain and educate you, not to police you. Did you know that even if you are in a limousine, we are legally obligated NOT to serve you if you appear intoxicated? It’s true! Please, do yourself (and us) a big favor and spit!