1. Over-zealous swirling
It’s fine to want to release your vino’s deepest, darkest tannins, but putting too much ‘back’ into your swirling is only likely to agitate your fellow diners.
2. Silent sniffing
Closing your eyes and slowly sniffing as though you’re about to imbibe a cup of mama’s hot cocoa is too much to expect anyone to sit through. If you prefer the moment to be intimate, please try it at home by yourself.
3. Being passive aggressive
“Oh, you taste blackcurrant, do you? Hmm… interesting. I don’t get that at all.” Wine tasting should be an equal rights affair untainted by snobbery. Hold off on the snide remarks and refer to snobbism #11.
4. Competing with/correcting the Sommelier
If you wanted a pat on the back for being so knowledgeable, you should have brought your mother along. If you’ve chosen a decent enough restaurant, you should be able to relax and let them take charge instead of entering into an argument over what kind of soil the Barolo is grown in.
5. Opening forum on the Oprah wine-fry
Discussion is fine, but going around the table insisting that everyone shares their thoughts about the bottle is overkill. You’re not a kindergarten teacher and not everyone need be forced to express their feelings on the matter.
6. Taking too long
The whole process of swirling, sniffing and contemplating is wanky enough as it is. Do everyone a favour and keep the time spent doing so to a minimum. Prolonged silence and squinting into the distance while everyone else is waiting for their fill is the type of behaviour reserved for megalomaniacs.
7. Declaring a state of independence
Are you an ABC (anything but Chardonnay) girl? That’s nice. If your palate is going to be as limited as a five-year-old’s at a dinner party, you might as well just sit this one out.
8. Correcting pronunciation
Not solely applicable to wine tasting, but also to life in general. People mispronounce things all the time, let alone with conversation riddled with exotic, tongue-twisting nomenclature.
9. Immediately appoint yourself wine connoisseur
At least a modicum of humility ought be employed when deciding on who’s going to be choosing the wine. If it turns out that you are the most knowledgeable, it will surely come out in the wash.
10. Being a segregated server
There is never an excuse for keeping the good wine in the kitchen for you and your friends when hosting a dinner party, meanwhile keeping the plebs in the dining room lubricated with the run-of-the-mill plonk. However, do you expect to foster your guests’ wine appreciation?
11. Be too esoteric
There is no argument to say that wine-tasting is not subjective, but dropping “pyrazine” into the flavour profile is something even the most zealous oenophiles should resist, unless of course you actually do work in a lab.
12. Refusing to order from an average wine list
Some dining destinations, you’ll certainly go to for their reputable wine selection, but even if the list is average, you needn’t make a point of the fact that you find nothing up to standard and will, therefore, order a Martini.