To spit or not to spit …that is the question

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spitting

Image: Heidi Butzine

Wine blitz or wine tasting?

I recently had a long day of wine tasting with clients in Napa and since then I have learned that spitting could have saved the day.  Don’t get me wrong, it was a great time.  A limo took about seven of us to one GREAT winery after another…Darioush (they are still building the winery but it will be quite amazing when it’s done), Cliff Lede, Del dotto…the only ones I can recall.  The lesson learned is that after the first couple of wineries, the wines just didn’t taste that great anymore.  Even with water and crackers, my taste buds and my ability to taste was just blown out.  It is sad to think about what great wines I tried but completely missed because I did not spit!

In one day of wine tasting, you are likely to go to as many as five wineries.  In marathon tasting days, you may even visit as many as ten.  If you taste around five wines at one winery, you probably have had about one cup of wine.  Once you have visited three or four wineries, this adds up to an entire bottle. Even if you aren’t driving, your wine tasting ability is going to be impaired.

How do you prevent this?  When you are doing a day of wine tasting, you should make sure to bring plenty of water with you.  You should also bring snacks or even a picnic meal.  The most important rule though is to spit. I know, your mom taught you that spitting is gross and not polite in public places.  The exception to this rule is when wine tasting and should be encouraged!

Although spitting is allowed in wine tasting, there are still rules about the polite way to spit.  Don’t ever lean over someone to spit.  When someone has a mouthful of wine, you should stop conversation to allow them to concentrate on the wine.  The most important part is that you don’t drip (too much) on your chin or on the table.  For an advanced wine-spitter, the wine should come out in a constant stream, with good aim.  In some wine tasting circles, people are even judged on their spitting style.

For most of us though, we are just happy to not make a mess when we are spitting.  Spitting takes some practice but don’t be embarrassed.  People may take you more seriously as a wine expert if you spit.  It proves that you are not just there to get buzzed.

To taste wine like the pros, you’ve got to spit like the pros.  Show some respect and spit!  (At least when you’re wine tasting.)

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