There is no better way to immerse yourself in the beautiful world of wine than wine tasting experiences.

Whether a beginner or veteran, wine tastings and winery touring can seem daunting. With a seemingly unlimited number of tastings and wineries to choose from, and the amazing variety of wines available to taste; This list will guide you to approach wine tasting like a pro.

Wine Tasting Experiences: The Basics

1. Make a Reservation

The process starts by calling your preferred winery, find out the days they are open to the public and make a reservation. If you are visiting the winery with friends, ask what group bookings entail as many wineries offer group discounts. By calling in advance, you get to know the type of wine tasting the winery offers. Is it formal or informal? In a formal tasting, you sit at a table and the host talks you through wine in a specific order. An informal tasting involves walking around tasting wine set around a room or cellar. Preparing ahead of time will always improve wine tasting experiences.

2. Set Money Aside

While you will have to pay for wine tastings at most wineries (although some are free), set some extra aside to fully enjoy the experience. Most wineries offer the experience to buy bottles of wine which you have tasted or pay for club membership. Some wineries waiver the wine tasting fee if you purchase wine or join the wine club. Be sure to ask your host if they offer any incentives.

Buying wine from a winery offers you an opportunity to by special vintages. You may buy a unique vintage that is no longer available for sale in stores. As a wine club member, you get discounts, and the winery can ship special wines to you upon request.

3. Dress Appropriately

Tasting vary by experience, from tours through cellars and vineyards prior to the actual tastings; what you wear is important. Steer clear of white colored clothing because of the danger of spilling wines. Avoid wearing strong fragrances which may overwhelm the wine’s subtle aromas. Make sure you find out exactly what the tasting will entail and dress accordingly whether that means formal or informal clothing. From comfortable shoes for the fields, to dress shoes for a formal tasting, prior knowledge will ensure the most comfortable for yourself.

4. Eat a Proper Meal

Make sure you know whether the winery is serving food (as they often do) with the tasting. If not, eat at least 1-2 hours before your wine tasting. Food slows down alcohol absorption which reduces the risk of getting drunk during the tasting. Avoid spicy, bitter and acidic foods. They could affect your palate and interfere with the flavors of the wine. Do not use mouthwash as it kills bacteria in your mouth which affects your wine tasting.

Start by sampling the lightest wines and make your way to the darker ones. This ensures you do not overwhelm your palate with the richness of darker wines.

Food Pairing:

Pinot Grigio wines pair perfectly with white meats, such as chicken and pork. Furthermore, they complement white fish amazingly. A cold climate Pinot Grigio wines lemon/lime hints compliments white fish, while the crispness can cut across a fattier fish such as catfish. Seafood pasta dishes go well with the wine. The acidity in pinot grigio due to early harvest, makes it ideal to accompany meats with creamy sauces. In addition, it pairs amazingly well with ricotta and Asiago.

Young Wine:

Pinot Grigio wines are often drunk very young. For example, many producers of the wine have it bottled and being sold on shelves of wine markets and stores within 12 weeks of fermentation. Not all Pinot Grigio is drunk so young, however many varieties are. As a general rule, Pinot Grigio wines should be drunk within 5 years as they do not necessarily lend well to aging.

Best Served Cold:

Roughly 45° F is the perfect temperature to serve Pinot Grigio Wines. However, it depends on the particular wine, and winemakers suggestion. As a general rule however, if you are not sure,  45° F will bring out the best of your Pinot Grigio wine.

Named After:

Pinot Noir and Pinot Grigio are named after pine-cones, due to the nature and shape of their tight clusters. Pinot Noir for example, is a black pine-cone by translation; whereas Pinot Gris/Grigio is named the Grey Pine-cone. This is due to the blueish-grey color of the grapes skin.

Each type of Pinot Gris grape is different depending on the place where it grows, producing different wines with different flavours. The pinot grape originates from France, more specifically in the Alsace region. In any case, the Pinot Gris grape is grown in different regions of the world, among them; the wines produced in Germany stand out, since the Alsatian region is bordering the German country. Although there are other places where they have also jumped on the bandwagon of their production, such as New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, Chile and Argentina.