Sunday, May 14, 2017

Wine Tasting 101-From a novice to a novice

If wine/beer/spirits tasting is a new experience for you, it can be overwhelming.  In our area, there are so many choices plus throw in hiking, chocolate, cheese and ice cream, and planning can be a real challenge.  We were newbies a few years ago and as b & b proprietors, we’ve learned from the very best!  So we thought we would share a few tips for a great first-time tasting experience.

We find that we do better by tasting wine one day, beer the next, and so on.  If you’re pressed for time, maybe ½ the day for wine and ½ for beer, etc.  You’ll find that mixing not only causes you stomach distress, but it will also cause your taste buds to be a bit off. There is nothing worse than buying wine you thought you loved, only to get it home to ask “why did I like this?”  Food can also greatly affect how/what you taste.  If you’re bringing your own snacks, try to avoid those that may be heavily salted or seasoned.  Also, drink lots of water and take a break to grab some lunch.  Most places open at 11:00 (some at 10) and close at 5, although we do have a few that stay open later during the summer.

Most places will charge a tasting fee of $3.00 to $6.00 per person and may offer 3 (distilleries) to 6 choices or more!  Keep in mind, it’s perfectly acceptable, and sometimes encouraged, to share a tasting.  You never need an appointment to taste unless you’re part of a group, typically 8 or more.   Don’t be afraid to admit to the pouring staff that you aren’t sure what you like, i.e. dry vs. semi dry, or red vs. white. Many times, they LOVE that and can offer recommendations to get you started.  Also, don’t be afraid to dump in the dump bucket, this is a common practice!   Make notes as you go, the tasting sheets are typically yours to keep and can be handy for your next trip or your next purchase.  If drinking/driving is a concern, there are driving services in the area that will pick you up and drop you off at our door.  Most start around $75 per hour and some charge less if you don’t mind them driving your vehicle. The most important piece of advice we can share:  a lot of folks over indulge their first day which often ruins the rest of their time here.  Pace yourself! If you’re only coming for 1 night,  it can be a long and painful ride home.

Finally, if you aren’t sure of where to go and are staying with us, we have no problem making some suggestions.  Remember, the Seneca Lake region is very close to Cayuga and Keuka and planning time on all lakes is very feasible due to our centralized location.  You should also plan a little extra time to visit our state parks, the water falls and gorges here are spectacular! 

Summer in the Finger Lakes brings a lot of great events, but winter can also be a great time to visit as the crowds are much smaller allowing for a better tasting experience.  When planning your visit, it’s always wise to check the web site for the wine trail’s list of events (visit our "things to do" page).  You will find that wine trail event weekends are MUCH busier and more crowded and your tasting may be a bit more hurried.  Week days often provide a slower pace, and, our rates are a bit lower for Mon-Thurs. stays.

Regardless of when you visit, we guarantee you won’t be disappointed.  Happy Planning!

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