Wine is a Business – Tasting Etiquette

Sommelier Jodi Fritch

Every once in a while I abuse this forum to get up on my soap box. This morning being one of those times. At this time I would like to remind everyone that wine is a business. Free tastings are never really free.

The whole reason that wine retailers and distributors and suppliers provide free tastings is so that consumers (and hopefully customers) can try the wine, determine what they like, and make a purchase. When wine is poured at a tasting someone has to pay for the wine, and the people that are there pouring it. This is a cost of doing business that we all have become accustomed to. After 7+ years in this business, what I have not become accustomed to is the number of people who think that a free wine tasting is a way to get their drink on, for free, before going on with the rest of their evening, the number of requests that I receive to do free tastings, and the countless requests for donations of wine.

Almost every wine retailer that I do business with is just like everyone else in this economy, struggling.

So, I humbly request that we all remember what these tastings are for and try to behave with a little more grace at these free wine tastings. Here are three basic tips to help:

1. Sample each wine thoughtfully

2. Ask questions of the representative pouring the wine

3. If a wine does not suit your taste, ask for other recommendations

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