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Dos and don'ts of visiting tasting rooms

[caption id="attachment_1497" align="aligncenter" width="634" caption="The rules of any tasting room. "]Bonacquisti Wine Co. tasting room[/caption]

It's that time of year when the weather warms and people start thinking about visiting one of Colorado's nearly 100 wine tasting rooms. It's a rite of passage, almost. Make sure you are doing it right with this handy guide to the etiquette of a wine tasting room.


Ask questions of your tasting room personality. Whether it's the winemaker behind the counter or an hourly employee, these people tend to know about and love to share info. It's more fun to enjoy a product you understand, too.


Be afraid of doing something wrong. Sure, wine tasting can be done on a professional level, but for most of us, it's all about enjoyment. There is no right way to drink wine. There is no right way to feel about the flavor. It's a very personal experience, and enjoy it the way you want to. Unless that includes dirty language or otherwise lewd behavior.


Buy a bottle if your tasting is free. Now, there are exceptions. If you really do not like the wine, then do not feel obligated to purchase anything. A tasting fee — in many cases, waived  with a purchase — is really meant to help a winery not lose money when a customer walks in the door. So if you pay for a flight, it's ok to leave without wine in terms of etiquette, but who would want to do a thing like that? If you are on a tour bus, it's likely the winery didn't receive any money for your visit so they are really hoping you enjoy the wine and buy a bottle or two.


Drink too much if you are driving. Spit buckets are there for a reason — to keep you sober during a tasting and your palate lively. If you are the one with the keys, use it often. If you don't want to be bothered thinking about such things, arrange for safe transportation. A 17-year-old child who really wants to take the car out with his or her friends, for example. In the absence of child labor, there are several metro-area and Colorado limo and shuttle services that cater to the wine industry.


Ask for a tour. Most small wineries will offer them on demand if they aren't organized by time. If you can get a winemaker to guide you around the operation, all the better. Tasting room employees (the good ones, anyway) will want to show you the ropes of the business. It's a fun way for them to brand the winery and teach the process of making good vino.


Take yourself too seriously. The snotty sommelier exists in the wine world, but he/she is the exception, not the rule. Most people in the industry have fun. It's booze, after all. Sipping samples of Colorado Cabernet Franc should be nothing if not a relaxing way to explore the state.


Tell the world — via word of mouth, social media or any other avenues that you maintain — about your Colorado wine tasting room experience. It helps small-businesses with small budgets get the word out. What's that they say about karma?


Our tasting room is open 11–5 p.m., Thursday–Saturday at 4640 Pecos St., Unit I.


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