Five Things NOT to do While Wine Tasting

Going wine tasting is one of my favorite past times. I love experiencing new wines. There is something very intriguing about how each wine offers its very own unique expression of place, people, and process. As a tasting room owner, it has been fun seeing all sorts of people come through. We’ve enlightened the palates of new wine drinkers and destroyed the preconceptions of many staunch snobs. In a previous post, wine slinger Ben shared some Wine Tasting Tips for Newbies. In today’s installment, I would like to share five things NOT to do while wine tasting.

The following tips come from recent experiences and believe it or not, they are ALL true. Wine is an alcoholic beverage and can be known to turn an otherwise normal person into something very different, as evidenced by the following list. I’m sure every winery owner or wine tasting room owner could add at least five more to this list too…

“Wine – How Classy People Get Trashed”

  • Don’t pour your own wine.

I realize that during large tastings this could be tempting. After all, the wine is sitting on the counter just begging to be caressed and emptied.  The guy behind the bar is busy pouring another wine. You just can’t wait and the magnetic pull of the bottle to your glass is overwhelmingly strong. DON’T DO IT. In addition to being against the law, it’s just a little rude. Yes, I realize we are friends and the space is cozy and you’re feeling pretty relaxed and at home. Be patient, we’ll get to you. I promise, we won’t run out.

  • Don’t destroy my property.

Now this sounds simple enough and hopefully this isn’t a regular occurrence. When cleaning up after a large wine weekend recently, I noticed some weird dots on our nice paper flower centerpieces at one table. “Hmmm, this feels weird,” I thought. “Oh, my gosh, you’ve got to be kidding me…GUM!” Who, in their right mind decides it is okay to decorate a paper flower with a little gum stigma? That is all I have to say about that.

  • Keep your drama to yourself.

A day of drinking with the girlfriends can be fun. Unfortunately after about 18 little one ounce pours at 4 locations with little food and zero water, some old “she said, she said” drama can start to emerge. Come on girls, you’re too pretty to be grumpy. We’re not a bar. In our little space all the customers are in on your frequent trips to the bathroom and not so hushed jabs. There is no crying in wine tasting. Be friends and save your drama for another time, please.

  • Don’t harass the other customers.

You think I’m kidding with this one, but NO – this actually happened. A group of happy people were enjoying their wine tasting recently when all of a sudden I hear, “What are you looking at b^!ch? I’ll knock your f&*king head off!” Whoa! What the heck. A quick analysis of the situation reveals a stunned group of young girls being accosted by someone from another group that just came in. Smartly the two young ladies didn’t react to the unsolicited abuse and sheepishly left. WAIT, those are my customers you just ran off. This is a winery not a biker bar. If I hadn’t been alone, I would have run off to apologize to the girls. As it was, I politely smiled to the remaining group and tried to give them the best experience I could. Not sure what happened and as the tasting progressed, the group seemed quite pleasant and we hit it off pretty well…hmmm…go figure.

  • Don’t grope or kiss the owner.

I realize after a few glasses of wine and in dim lighting I can look pretty attractive, but kissing the help is generally frowned upon and usually won’t get you a discount on wine. This experience happened within the first three weeks of us being opened and I was thinking, “Oh my, what did I get myself into?” This customer and I can laugh about this now but needless to say I was pretty shocked at the time. Feel free to flirt, get sassy and bat your eyes all you want. It’s great for the ego. But it might be best for everyone if you found someone else to kiss (or spank or grope).

There you have it. I’m sure as time progresses I’ll have many stories to tell in this space. If you recognize yourself in any of these scenarios, don’t worry – your identity is safe with me and I only share because I can laugh about it now, hopefully you can too.


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Owner of Nectar Tasting Room in Spokane, WA. (@nectarwine) Publisher of Spokane Wine Magazine (@spowinemag), author, speaker, consultant and internet marketer with Nectar Media (@nectarmedia)

18 comments on “Five Things NOT to do While Wine Tasting

  1. 1WineDude

    I am totally NOT visiting your tasting room now unless we get to kiss, bro.

    Ok, I take that back.


    1. drinknectar

      Oh, Joe – definitely not a kiss, but you’re welcome to smack my ass :)


  2. Pia Hallenberg

    May I add this one?
    If you get sick in the bathroom – please tell someone on staff, so the clean up crew can be sent in, before another wine taster steps in “it”…

    1. drinknectar

      Oh, yes please! I don’t think I’ve had this happen in my place yet…If I did, someone else cleaned it up before telling me…ICK

  3. Mary

    Awe, I thought you’d like the groping! Isn’t that why one decides to own a wine bar in the first place? All the kisses?!

    I must add, after working for years in a winery the most obnoxious thing I ever encountered was a group of guys & gals on a bachelor/bachelorette tour brought a fart machine and kept using it during a tour I gave. I played along for the first few times they used it, then finally had to confiscate it from the drunkards! So, yeah, please no fart machines while wine tasting folks!

    1. drinknectar

      Haha! I can’t imagine someone bringing a fart machine to a wine tasting.

      Regarding the kisses…that is just one of the many perks of owning a wine tasting room. 😉

  4. Joe

    Wine/Biker bar… just think of the possibilities!

    1. drinknectar

      hmmmm…may have to be the next venture, Joe. Might work better in HOT-lanta than here in Spokaloo though

  5. Tamara Belgard

    Ahhh. You have a whole new perspective these day, eh?

    1. drinknectar

      I’m sure it is something you can relate to as well since you’ve been in the biz for a while too…

  6. Iris

    Ah yes, the public. Entitled to see your property as theirs. How charming. Being in the business of serving myself, I feel your pain :)

  7. BrooklynBeka

    All I can say is “Oh My!!!”
    sad, just sad…

  8. lifeofvines

    Thanks for sharing this hysterical perspective on wine tasting! I found this so funny I’ve added a link to this on my website.

  9. Ronda

    My husband and I are going to Napa in about a week – is it ok to share a wine tasting (drinking out of one glass)- I am not trying to save money ( not that it isn’t a good idea) I just am not into spitting and am worried about becoming over-served.

    1. drinknectar


      This is a great question. It is perfectly acceptable to share a tasting. People do it all the time in our tasting room whether it is to save money, one person is not a huge wine fan, or they just don’t want to drink to much.

      Enjoy Napa!


      1. Ronda

        Thank you!


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