Wine Tasting for Beginners: What You Need to Know

Here's what you need to know about wine tasting for beginners.If you’ve never tried a wine tasting in Napa Valley, you are missing out on the experience of a lifetime! Wine connoisseurs from around the globe come to sample the award-winning Cabernets, Chardonnays, Bordeaux, Pinots, and Merlots found here. However, you don’t need to be a seasoned expert to enjoy these bold reds and refreshing white blends! We’ve put together this detailed guide to help you learn the basics of wine tasting for beginners. Check it out and start planning your wine country getaway today!

Are you planning a trip to Napa Valley? Before you go, make sure to request access to our complimentary Vacation Guide for more recommendations about the best area attractions, wineries, vineyards! From local restaurants to shopping and more, it’s full of great tips to help you prepare for your vacation.

Your Guide to Wine Tasting for Beginners

  1. See, Swirl, Sniff, Sip

If there is one thing to remember when learning how to taste wine, it’s the four S’s: sip, swirl, sniff, and sip! See the color of the wine to determine whether it is dull and cloudy or vibrant and clear. The deeper the color, the more intense the flavor is likely to be. Next, swirl your glass. This releases the wine’s unique scent, helping you to gauge the quality of the wine when you inhale. Because the aromas in wine are more diverse than its flavors, it’s important to sniff your glass before you drink your wine. Once you’ve seen the color, swirled your glass, and taken a sniff, it’s time to take a sip and savor the moment!

  1. Ask Questions

A wine professional, or sommelier, will likely be overseeing your tasting. Don’t be afraid to ask them questions during your experience! These specialists are formally trained in all aspects of wine service, so take advantage of their knowledge while you are there. An experienced sommelier should know everything from what food to pair with your wine to how the grapes are grown. It’s also a good idea to take notes about your favorite wines, and what you liked or disliked about each sample.  

  1. Clear Your Palate Between Sips

Make sure to drink water and eat small bites during your tasting. Drinking water will cleanse your palate and keep you hydrated while you are consuming alcohol. We also recommend ordering a plate of cheese, crackers, or nuts to bring out the flavors in your wine. Many of the wineries will even offer complimentary small bites to go with the different types of wine and their taste.

  1. Visit a Few Wineries

Napa Valley is home to more than 400 wineries, and each has something special to offer! Don’t limit your wine tasting experience to just one of them. Visit the Hess Winery to experience the perfect blend of art and wine, explore the picturesque La Jota Vineyard, or enjoy a unique tasting below the Earth’s surface at Jarvis Estate. The possibilities are endless, so check out a complete list of Napa Valley wineries and visit several during your stay!

Enjoy More Wine Tasting at Churchill Manor!

Did you know that you can sample some of the region’s best wines right here at Churchill Manor? Guests of our downtown Napa bed and breakfast are welcome to join us each evening for specialty wines and appetizers including domestic and imported cheeses, toast points and crackers, seasonal fruits and vegetables, tapenades, and dipping sauces. Unwind with a refreshing glass of red on the veranda, or enjoy a game of croquet in the garden. Our experienced staff is always happy to answer any questions you may have about wine tasting for beginners!

Once you learn all about wine tasting for beginners, book your stay in our Stags Leap Room. Known as one of the most romantic inns in Napa Valley, Churchill Manor offers the ideal accommodations for your getaway. Each of our 10 guest rooms is fully equipped with luxurious amenities, fireplaces, and comfortable furnishings. If you would like to experience a premium stay, we recommend booking our Stags Leap Room. With a King-sized bed and a pedestal two-person soaking tub, you’ll have everything you need for a relaxing vacation. Perhaps you would like a chilled bottle of champagne or a Welcome Basket waiting for you upon arrival? We are happy to accommodate you! Check out our current specials and packages and book your stay today. We look forward to seeing you soon!