Wine Tasting Tips

How To Navigate the Vermont Wine & Harvest Wine Festival

At the Vermont Wine & Harvest Festival, there will be over  17 Vermont wineries and distilleries offering tastings on Saturday and Sunday. There’s no way to know ahead of time what wines you will like, so don’t be overwhelmed by your choices! Here are a few tips that can help you learn a great deal about Vermont wines and cold-climate grapes. Remember, there’s only one way to learn: Taste, contemplate, taste again.

Another reminder: bring your identification; legal drinking age in Vermont is 21. The Festival staff, beverage servers and gate volunteers are “Vermont Professional Server Certified” to ensure responsible service, sale, and consumption of alcohol.

1) Take a minute to study the program before you begin tasting. This will help you determine which vineyards you already know, and which ones are new to you. Promise yourself to try wines that are not your “usual.”

2) Don’t feel as if you are obligated to swallow what the pourers splash in the glass. It’s okay to use a spit cup – carry your own around with you if you’d rather not use the dump buckets provided. If you find a wine you particularly like, you certainly can ask for a second pour to taste it again.

3) Copy what the pros do – start with white wines, then roses, then reds. Try the dessert wines last. This might mean going around and around to the same tables more than once. That’s okay, too. Take at least 2 sips (yes, you can sniff, swish and spit the first one) before you decide if you like a wine or not.

4) Ask questions, take notes, and take your list of favorite wines home with you. The fun of a wine festival is being able to chat up the pourers as well as the folks standing beside you at the tasting tables. Ask them what their palates like best.

5) Go slowly, and also take time to eat something. Drink plenty of water, too. Remember that Mount Snow is a higher elevation, and the climate itself can be dehydrating.