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The Etiquette Tip That Ensures A More Pleasant Wine Tasting Experience

Row of different wines being poured
Row of different wines being poured - Carlo Prearo/Getty Images

When you're tasting a bunch of wines, it's really easy to accidentally get wasted. Not only do you lose your palate's objectivity, but sometimes it's two o'clock in the afternoon, and all of a sudden you can't keep your sentences straight, much less discuss the idiosyncratic flavor notes. That's where spitting comes in.

Spitting can feel a little awkward, rude, or generally uncomfortable at first (like slurping ramen, which is actually the proper form). But, once you get past any initial discomfort, the practice can be essential if you want to have your wits about you by the end of the day. Assuming the average sample at a tasting is around 2 ounces, if you taste 20 different wines, that's 40 ounces, which means roughly a bottle and a half of wine consumed within an hour or two. 40 ounces to freedom only makes sense when it's a Sublime song — at a winery, it's 40 ounces to the hospital. Even if you're hung up on the idea of "wasting perfectly good wine," swallowing is not the move here.

To set yourself up for a successful spit, sip with the end goal in mind. You're going to be spitting this out, so take only a few tablespoons of wine into your mouth at a time. This way, you can easily swish it around your entire palate for optimal tasting (which is the entire point of attending a wine-tasting event) and can gracefully spit it out once your exploration has concluded.

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Spit Before You Have To Quit

Person spitting wine into communal spitoon
Person spitting wine into communal spitoon - Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

Whether you're at a wine bar in New York City or a small tasting event, spitting can be a good way to analyze aromas and complex flavor notes with longevity and endurance, especially if you're winery-hopping. Spitting might not be necessary when you're hosting your own wine-tasting party at home and likely have a smaller variety of wines for guests to try. But, at wine shows, booths will often be equipped with spit cups, and wineries often have a communal spittoon for guests to use.

Shy about spitting into a common pot? Stash a plastic cup in your purse or jacket pocket to bring with you. You can empty your personal cup into the shared vessel at the end of the event. Do you have long hair? Tie it back. It's also a good idea to keep a napkin in your clutch for catching any loose dribbles. Once you identify your favorite wine of the night, save it for last and end your night with it to keep the taste in your mouth and enjoy yourself. This one, you can swallow.

At the end of the day, the biggest recommended technique is to spit with confidence. If you're feeling hesitant, you can even practice spitting into a cup in the privacy of your own home before the event to get used to the feeling. Calm your nerves and enjoy the tasting -- after all, it's supposed to be fun!

Read the original article on Tasting Table.