(1 of ) Do: Go wine tasting with friends. Everything tastes better. (Photo by John Burgess/The Press Democrat)
(2 of ) Do: Sip the wine slowly and nod your head when they ask if you notice the hints of chocolate and raspberry.
(3 of ) Don’t: Have more than two glasses at your first stop.
(4 of ) Do: Sniff the wine and then say the first thing that comes to mind as to what it smells like.
(5 of ) Don’t: Be turned off by disgusting smell descriptors. For example, cat urine, barnyard, berry mold, forest floor, wet gravel….
(6 of ) Don't: Stop other wine tasters when you see them about to pour their taster into the dump bucket. Adults get weird about sharing — especially if they don't know you.
(7 of ) Do: Swirl the wine around before tasting it. This makes it seem like you know what you’re doing and aren’t just there to get buzzed. (Kent Porter / The Press Democrat)
(8 of ) Don't: Taste wine without eating anything. While most wineries will have a few appetizers to enjoy, it’s best to eat beforehand. To be safe, bring along some plain crackers.
(9 of ) Do: Bring a designated driver, or hire a private driver.
(10 of ) Don't: Go wine tasting with a boss or a gossipy friend.
(11 of ) Don’t: Gulp the taster down and ask for a refill.
(12 of ) Don’t: Feel pressured to buy every wine you taste. But DO buy if the first glass invites a second. This means it’s a good wine.
(13 of ) Don’t: Wear strong perfume or cologne, and skip the essential oils that day.
(14 of ) Don’t: Turn away from the person pouring your wine while they are telling you what they are pouring.
(15 of ) Do: Keep an open mind and try varietals you don't typically drink.
(16 of ) Do: Ask questions (sometimes the conversation gets you more pours).
(17 of ) Do: Swish and spit, especially if you plan to visit several tasting rooms. Try to refrain from gargling.
(18 of ) Don't: Feel like you have to spit if you don't want to. If you're enjoying your wine, feel free to swallow.
(19 of ) Don’t: Spill the wine — on you, or anyone else.
(20 of ) Do: Avoid tasting rooms that are full and feel like a bar (there are plenty of others nearby).
(21 of ) Do: Make a reservation if you’re traveling in a large group or visiting a smaller winery. Some places require it, and it’s just good protocol to ensure the venue can accommodate your party.
(22 of ) Don’t: Ask a Sonoma County winery to direct you to the best Napa tasting room.
(23 of ) Don’t: Feel that you need to say the right thing or do the right thing.
(24 of ) Do: Drink plenty of water.
(25 of ) Do: Relax and have fun!