Wine Tasting Tip: Keep an Open Mind!

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Wine tasting: simple enough, right? You go to a winery, take a sip of a few different wines, and if you find some you like maybe you’ll go home with a few bottles. Piece of cake.

While it is true that wine tasting is not complicated at all, we find that a lot of people are intimidated by the process. “I’m not a connoisseur,” they tell us. “I don’t know how this whole thing works.”

So we decided to come up with some tips to help you on your next winery outing. Each post will feature a different tip. Comment below with any questions you have, or send us an email at

Today’s Tip: Come with an open mind.


“I don’t like sweet wines.”

“I hate oaky chardonnays.”

“If anyone orders Merlot, I’m leaving. I am NOT drinking any $%^*&@# Merlot!”

Sound familiar? These are things we hear all the time (especially quotes from a certain movie) and you would be surprised how often people end up buying bottles of wine they swore they weren’t going to like.

You might already be very well acquainted with your taste in wine, but don’t let that keep you from trying something new. Go ahead and pick the varietals you are familiar with and enjoy, but try to also choose one or two that you’ve never had before or don’t usually like.

Keep in mind that there can be a great deal of variance between a single varietal depending on many factors, including the vintage (year the grapes were harvested), the terroir (location of the vineyard, soil type, climate, etc.), the fermentation (the grape juice turning into wine), the aging process, and so much more.


If you’ve ever been to the wineries in Cape May County, you may have noticed that the Pinot Grigio at Hawk Haven tastes different from the Pinot Grigios at the other nearby wineries. It isn’t necessarily a good or a bad thing, just different. So just because you had an unpleasant wine from one winery, doesn’t mean you will dislike that varietal (or blend) across the board. And if you didn’t notice any difference, that’s okay! Over time your palate will become more discerning.

If you’re not sure what to pick, ask the winery staff. They can suggest something based on your preferences, based on popularity, or based on their own favorites. The important thing is to try something new and clear your mind of any assumptions or preconceived notions. You might just find your new favorite wine!

Comments on ‘Wine Tasting Tip: Keep an Open Mind!’:

  1. Very true. I wasn’t a big fan of merlot, but my experiences were all with California merlots which were…well, I felt, sort of bland and uninteresting. But the Cape May county merlots have an extra something…might be the soil, or it might just be the brewing styles, that really made me sit up and take notice. I appreciate them so much more now. One of the things I like best about wine tastings is that I learn something new about wine every time I go to a tasting. And I don’t think there is anything more peaceful than sipping a glass of wine and looking out over a vinyard.

    1. Carol,

      So glad to hear you’ve found some Merlots you enjoy! I agree, even we are constantly learning new things about wine, and I so look forward to warmer weather so I can relax on the crushpad with a glass of wine (if they let me take a day off!).

  2. I couldn’t agree more with your points! I’ve always asked my wife to try a different type of wine when we go wine trips but she would rather stick to her Cabernet Sauvignon. An open mind is very important to see the great pleasures of tasting different flavors of wine and your article clearly states that. Thanks for the good read!

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