When it comes to expanding your knowledge of wine and figuring out which grapes really dance on your palate, there is no better way to do it than by visiting a winery’s tasting room. A memorable and pleasant experience, each time you visit something unique will happen.

You’ll have the opportunity to expose yourself to a larger variety of wines and to hopefully discover something new and delicious to drink. If you’re new to wine tasting or simply haven’t done it in a while, there are a few tips and tricks that can make the experience even better. Here are some suggestions to make the most of your wine tasting experience.

1. Don’t be shy

Even if you’re a total beginner when it comes to appreciating the subtleties of wine, don’t allow yourself to be intimidated by the expert in front of you. People who work in the wine industry are deeply passionate about their craft and love sharing their knowledge with visitors at all stages of their wine education. Ask questions, engage, and you’re sure to get the most out of the experience.

2. Take notes

This one can be easy to forget about when you’re swept up in the moment, but taking notes is truly the best way to ensure you actually walk away from the winery with a set of new tips that you can put to use in the wine store or restaurant. Depending on how much of an aficionado you are, the notes don’t have to be extensive but at least write down the wines you tried and some basic comments.

3. Make use of that water jug

There are going to be several water jugs present at every wine tasting you attend, and it is best to remember that they are there for a reason. Although the glasses they are serving you may seem tiny, they do add up.

It is important to keep yourself hydrated in order to fully enjoy the experience. Water also acts as a natural palate cleanser, so you’ll be better able to appreciate the subtle notes of cheery or chocolate in that next glass.

4. Don’t rush it

Allow yourself to really savour and enjoy every sip of wine. If you’re pressed for time, it is better to wait to do a tasting when you can relax and linger over every glass.

5. Venture out of your comfort zone

When people start getting more interested in wine, they usually have some pretty solid ideas about the kind of grapes they enjoy and how they like their wine. Of course, there is nothing wrong with this, but keep in mind that the whole point of the tasting is to try something new. Let the person leading the tasting guide you and be open to trying their suggestions.

6. Go in with a fresh palate

Prior to your wine tasting, avoid drinking or eating things with strong flavours or that linger in the mouth. Things like coffee, chewing gum, or fruit juice are best avoided and you should be careful not to wear too much perfume or other strong fragrance.

7. Ask where to eat

If you’re just visiting the area and will be dining out after your tasting, ask the wine pros to make a suggestion. If they love wine they probably love good food and will surely be able to point you in the right direction.

8. Be smart when it comes to transportation

If you’re going to be doing several tastings, or are planning on enjoying a full bottle after you’re had a chance to sample, make sure you’ve organised safe transportation in advance, so that you don’t have to worry about it once the tasting is complete.