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4 things you never knew about wine tasting


The South African wine industry has evolved greatly since the first wine was produced in South Africa in 1659.

And so has the South African wine consumer. Wine lovers are excited to get back to wine tasting in the aftermath of the Covid-19 lockdowns.

AbuzzWine’s Nick Plummer, the man behind the wine evenings at Erinvale Estate Hotel & Spa, shares the ins and outs of wine tastings for first-time wine tasters. He also dispels a few myths along the way.

1. You don’t have to be a wine snob

Although wine events have an “elitist” reputation, the reality is a lot more relaxed, fun and informative.

“Preconceptions, myths and misgivings abound,” said Plummer. “For example, people worry that they don’t have a refined enough palate; that they need to appear knowledgeable; or that their lack of wine knowledge will be shown up. It’s simply not true. And if you go in with that attitude, you’ll have a dreadful time. Or feel obligated to buy one or two bottles of wine, and leave with the next-to-cheapest bottle under your arm as a guilt purchase. Don’t be that person!”

“We leave any ‘elitist behaviour’ to the folks who have probably never paid for a bottle of wine and spend their lives swirling, sniffing, slurping and spitting. There’s no real fun to be had there! The good news, is that those people don’t attend social wine-tasting events,” said Plummer.

2. It’s a journey of discovery

There is a tiny percentage of people who buy wine as an investment, but going to a wine tasting doesn’t generally lead us down that path, explains Plummer, instead it should be a journey of discovery.

• Discovering new names and labels

• Discovering new varietals and blends

• Discovering new aromas and flavours

• Discovering new favourites

• Discovering new friends

4 things you never knew about wine tasting
Wine tasting opens doors to networking and making new friends. Picture: Helena Lopes Pexels

3. Engage all five senses

Plummer explains that wine tasting is an immersive and sensory experience.

• Sight – swirl the wine in the glass and see the colours in the middle of the wine and around the edges.

• Smell – get your nose right inside the glass and take a deep sniff. You don’t have to be able to identify any particular aromas (leave that to the really tiny percentage of people who can), but simply savour the smell. Over time, you may even find that you have a better sense of smell in one nostril than the other.

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