Tasting Room Etiquette

Tasting and Purchasing

Winery owners offer tastings primarily to reach new customers and love to show off their products to appreciative guests. It is a great idea to have a cooler or two in the car to store your purchases, especially if you are making several stops on a summer day. Transport the wines cork or cap up, as they travel better that way with less surface area to slosh about. Wines stored in a hot car can blow their corks simply by the expansion of the wine cause by the heat, so keep them cool and allow them to rest a few weeks when you get home, as traveling can sometimes cause temporary “bottle shock” where the wines will not taste as they should.

Children and Pets

While wine country is heaven for adults, some extra planning may be needed for youngsters, such as bringing along an activity pack. While many parents make other arrangements for their children and pets so they can indulge in some adult time, families are welcome at most wineries. Facilities vary greatly, so make sure your children are closely supervised at all times, as there can be inherent dangers such as vehicles, farm equipment, electric fences and resident animals.

Some wineries have a no pets policy, so phone ahead to be sure.  

Cigarette Smoke

It is illegal in BC to smoke in public places, including tasting rooms. Some wineries have a designated area outside, but many have a no smoking policy, even outdoors. Smoking presents an extreme fire hazard in the dry Islands summers.

Perfume and Chewing Gum

Avoid wearing perfume or cologne when touring wineries, as they can interfere with the ability to smell and taste and other visitors may have allergies to scented products. Chewing gum is not recommended, as it throws the palate off.

The Dump Bucket

If you are planning to taste a lot of wines, you may choose to take a sip, swirl it around your palate, swallow just a little and dispose of the rest into the bucket on the counter. Wine professionals often spit directly in the bucket. If you prefer, you can ask for a cup to dispose of your taste more discreetly. The staff is there to help.

Tasting Room Fees

Some wineries offer free tastings, but fees are at the discretion of the individual wineries and they do vary. Tasting fees will be posted on a sign outside the winery or prominently in the tasting room. You can phone ahead to enquire and you are always welcome to stay and enjoy the commentary while opting to pass on the tasting. Often, the super-premium wines are very limited in quantity and will not be offered for tasting at all, but you may be able to try some in a local restaurant, so ask where they are available.

Enjoying Wine Country Responsibly

While most people manage their intake by sipping and spitting, we encourage visitors to bring along a designated driver who will not consume any alcohol at all. If you start to feel the effects of your tasting, take a break for an hour or two. There are plenty of attractions, climbing and hiking paths, picnic areas and some extraordinary restaurants to enjoy. The Wine Islands are unique in the world. Relax, sip, savour and enjoy!

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