Six Fool-Proof Wine Tasting Tips + Survival Kit

wine tasting survival kit

Fool-Proof Wine Tasting Tips + Survival Kit

I’ve known Terricina St. Clair of the Tipsy Sommelier for many years now. There are a lot of reasons why I love her. The first is her beautiful smile and big, genuine laugh. I love to make her chuckle. The second reason I love Terricinia is because of her entrepreneurial spirit and hustle. We vibe and encourage each other in so many ways. Finally, I love wine. Terricinia is an expert on loving wine. She brings her no-fuss wine tasting education classes and events to men and women like you and me. She strips away any pretentiousness of visiting a vineyard as she breaks down the basics of wine in a laid-back demeanor. She knows how to help a group of people have fun!

Terricinia thinks we should all be able to drink wine like a pro. Sometimes that means getting back to the basics. To help you out, she’s created a wine tasting survival kit! You can purchase these for your next self-guided wine outing or you can bring them along on one of the Tipsy Sommelier’s guided tours. Scroll through this blog post to see all the fun stuff Terricina thought to put in the bags. Before you head out on your next wine tasting adventure, here are some special tips from the expert herself. Scroll through or save this post to read before you hit in the vineyards this spring.

Six Simple Wine Tasting Tips

1. Begin with a clean palate.  You shouldn’t have any lingering cigarette, chewing gum, or overpowering food flavor in your mouth. Make sure your glass is clean and clear.

2. Start light. If you’re tasting more than one wine (who isn’t?!), begin with the lightest wine. Pour 1-2 ounces in your glass for each tasting. End with the heaviest red.


3. Check the color. The color of wine can give you hints to the wine’s age and varietal. Hold your glass up to a light or white surface to observe the color and clarity of the wine.

4. Take a whiff. Swirl the wine around in your glass to kick up the scent of the wine, then put your nose into the glass to inhale the wine’s aromas.  Notice the subtle aromatic nuances of the wine. These nuances hint to the varietal, oak influence and if the wine is pleasing to your palate, i.e. if you’ll dig it or not.


5. Take a sip. Here’s what you came for, right? Take a small sip of the wine. Then, swirl it around in your mouth. Take in a little air and slowly swallow the wine. Notice the flavor of the wine on your tongue. Pay attention to the wine’s acidity, weight, sweetness and tannin influence. Also, notice how the wine finishes in your mouth by counting the seconds you taste the wine in your mouth after you swallow.  The length of the finish hints to the quality of the wine.

6. Clean your palate! Get ready for the next one. If you start back at No. 1, you know you need a clean late. Cleanse your palate by sipping water or eating a dry unsalted crackers. They’re included in the wine kit just in case!


wine tasting essentials

More About The Tipsy Sommelier

Join Terricinia and her team for wine tasting events like paint nights and bachelorette parties. Find a full list of events and fun wine tasting opportunities here. The Tipsy Sommelier can also bring private wine tasting to your home or office and also take you on an adventures to visit Virginia’s wineries, breweries and ciders.  Visit the Tipsy Sommelier website or contact Terricinia directly by sending and email to

wine tasting tips

Looking for more wine wanderlust?

I’ve been on a few adventures of the grape…

  • Read both of my Charlottesville winery guides here and here.
  • I also visited Sonoma Valley last fall and visited the Kendall Jackson Estate. Read my travel guide to the San Francisco area here.
  • I spent a day on Sunny Slope Farm in the Rockbridge/Harrisonburg area. Talk about beautiful. Read my foodie friendly recap here.

Megan Wilson is a freelance writer and content creator based in Richmond, Virginia. As the editor of Sweet Sauce Blog, she writes about fashion, travel, self care and more.