Tasting and Talking with a Winemaker

Tasting and Talking with the Winemaker

It is a wonderful experience to try a wine with the winemaker present. It can be at the winery or at a function somewhere. Winemakers usually love to receive comment from consumers about their produce.

  • Where asked by the winemaker to comment on a wine, stick to a simple formula. Essentially you comment on overall style and food matching (light or full flavoured wine; it matches light/full flavoured foods) and then quality (it has persisting flavour that is pleasant and therefore it is a good wine)
  • I suggest that you engage the winemaker with some conversation about his/her wines. You can say simply to the winemaker “I am enjoying your third wine particularly” and maybe continue on “I particularly like its freshness/richness/light flavour/full flavour”. Don’t venture into comments that you may think reflect a more advanced wine knowledge, unless you know your territory. If you have heard about certain issues – ask the winemaker the question – “I have heard it said that reds from your region often have a green leaf aroma that suggests that the grapes don’t ripen properly – is this an issue?”
  • Don’t venture onto technical comments or go into winespeak with the winemaker
  • Don’t duck out of the situation by feebly declining to comment or merely saying to whichever wine is under consideration “I like it!” In many circles the latter short statement may cause a shot back question from the winemaker “Why do you like it? Do you like it more or less than the previous wine?”

Functions with a Winemaker

An encounter with a winemaker can be varied in format. Sometimes the “winemaker” actually is a sales person and doesen’t actually have a hands-on wine making role. It may be quite casual such as at a “wine fair” where attendees mill around various serving tables, where the tasters gather on one side and the wine person dispenses from the other. At dinners and tastings there is usually an agenda, sometimes subtle, for attendees to be exposed to wines and to buy some of them. An attendee doesn’t have to know anything really, be polite.