During your Napa Limo Wine Tour of Napa Valley wine tasting rooms, you’ll come across a variety of types of people. There are wide-eyed newbies, who know nothing and enjoy everything. You’ll meet seasoned wine connoisseurs with a vast repertoire of wine knowledge and a wide wine vocabulary. And, you’ll meet those who talk like they know a lot, but in reality they’re new, too (or perhaps just haven’t studied up), yet they still babble about a wine being “austere” or “noveau,” trying to make people think they’re all that.
It takes years, perhaps decades, to truly develop a sophisticated palette and wine vocabulary. Those of us who’ve been enjoying fine (and some not-so-fine) wines for many years still learn new terms all the time, or come across a new taste or texture we have no good word for. It’s called learning, and it is actually one of the most fun parts of being involved in the wine community!
This guide is to help all you guys (and gals) to embrace and accept what you don’t know and share what you do know with those who aren’t as far along in their wine enjoyment journey as you are. So, without further ado …
Do Learn New Terms
Sure, you can invest in those fancy, leather-bound wine dictionaries, because they are chocked full of valuable information, and oh. how. cool. they look on your coffee table. But you can get the same info online for free. There are numerous blogs, online magazines, print magazines, and books with excellent wine dictionaries. Expanding your wine vocabulary actually helps you more fully experience each new wine, because you put a name and definition on all of the tastes, textures, aromas, and experiences that wine has to offer.
Don’t Toss Out a Term You Aren’t Sure About
Sometimes, you’ll hear someone say, “that’s an aggressive wine,” when they mean it’s bold. Aggressive carries a negative connotation, while bold expresses a positive attribute. Be careful using terms you haven’t studied, because you can end up insulting a wine you actually like, confusing the other wine tasting room patrons, or simply looking foolish.
Do Ask What Someone Means by an Unfamiliar Term
There is nothing wrong with knowing less than someone else. Nobody thinks you’re an idiot for not knowing what “chewy” or “cigar box” mean in terms of wine taste. The only ways to look dumb are to pretend you know something you don’t. More experienced wine tasters, as well as tasting room attendants, are usually happy to explain terms and help you glean more knowledge out of the tasting experience.
Don’t Pretend You Know What You Don’t
Failing to ask what something means is a surefire way to get back home with a collection of wines you don’t even like. You might load up on coarse wines, when you actually prefer light tannin texture, or invest in too many delicate wines when you prefer a bolder flavor. It’s important to remember that even with careful palette cleansing between tastes, your taste buds and olfactory glands just won’t be as sensitive and accurate on your fourth wine tasting of the day as it was at the first. That’s why it’s important to get input from others in the wine tasting room and to understand precisely what they mean when describing the wines.
Do Study Up on Wine Terms Before Your Napa Wine Tour
Remember all that stuff you learned cramming for your college finals? No? Exactly. People just do not store information in their long-term memory with a rushed, last-minute study session. The information you retain in long-term memory comes from careful study over time. Expose yourself to different types of learning, too. For example, one blogger may explain things in a way that better suits your learning style. Try blogs, video tutorials, magazines, books, and even join a local wine club in your area to expose yourself to new terms, knowledge, insight, and perspective. Don’t have a wine club in town? Start one!
Don’t Forget the Basics
It is not necessary to have a billion-word wine vocabulary to enjoy wines, indulge in a wine tour, and visit the amazing tasting rooms at Napa Valley wineries. All it takes is a love for wine, an open mind, and a willingness to learn. Study up on our wine tasting etiquette guide and find out a little about Napa Valley culture, and you’ll fit in just fine.
Do Help Those Less Knowledgeable Than You to Enjoy Their First Wine Tasting
Once you do build your wine tasting vocabulary, instead of lording it over those less knowledgeable than you, learn to share your insight, knowledge, and tips. The guy who quietly explains the importance of un-oaked Chardonnay to the newbie in the back of the room is respected far more than the loudmouth in the front of the room tossing out ten-dollar terms like “hedonistic” and “fat”. Don’t be that guy.
No matter where you are in your wine education, the best way to learn more and exercise the education you’ve earned is with a Napa Valley wine tour! May we suggest a limo? After all, it’s for your education. Contact Allure Wine Tours for your tour options and price guide.