Wine tasting can be both fun and responsible.
We've all seen the wine taster who's had a few tastes too many. It's always a bit disconcerting to wonder if that person is driving in the lane next to us on the way home. Besides the obvious safety and legal ramifications of going overboard with wine consumption, there are also practical consequences: a hang-over, the inability to distinguish one wine from another or making wine purchases we'd never make if we were clear headed.
By the time we are mature enough to appreciate (and afford) fine wine, we are usually too old for those "pub crawls" of spring breaks past. Still, it's easy for "another taste" to lead to another and another... That adds up quickly.
You can stay in control and get more out of the wine tasting experience by practicing "S to the fourth power": Swirl, Sniff, Sip and Spit. The great thing about wine tasting is that it's one of the few occasions when you can break etiquette and spit. In wine country or at a festival all you need to do is ask for a spit cup. This is strongly advised if you don't want to hazard getting back-splash from the dump bucket. Keep the cup close to your mouth.
Spitting your wine takes a bit of practice. You can develop a confident spitting technique in the shower or after brushing your teeth: take a small mouthful of water (or mouthwash) and expel it in a steady, even stream. Don't rush or be too forceful and you won't spray.
It isn't about being stuffy or snooty. It's about having fun while being responsible and staying safe. It's an attitude and a frame of mind. We hope it will be an idea that spreads to all wine lovers.
Red Wine Buzz