Every year, we recommend strategies to enjoy Taste of Washington Grand Tasting event but this time we offer tips to maximize your Washington wine tasting. Tasting wine at a large event is different from tasting wine in a winery’s intimate tasting room or at a wine seminar. It is challenging to really assess a wine amongst all the smells, distractions and sheer volume of Taste Washington Grand Tasting. It is a big, fun and exciting party; here is how to enjoy the gala and really appreciate the wine.

Treat Grand Tasting like speed dating

  1. Think of the tasting as an introduction to Washington wines that you want to explore more. You will have limited time and just a small pour to decide.
  2. If you like the wine; take a memory. It is hard to take notes at the Grand Tasting. It takes time and you have a lot to juggle in your hands, trust me, I know!
    • Take a photo of the bottle.
    • Record wine name and favorite aspect in voice memo of your phone.
    • Grab a winery business card. If you can, write single word on back of card. It is a big help, especially if you end up with a stack of cards and can’t remember the distinct reasons why you have that card.
  3. Grand Tasting is set up for you to taste and move on, just like speed dating but without the timer. Tempting to hang out at the table with great wines and a charismatic wine maker, but blocking the table and/or monopolizing the winemaker is a big taboo. You will appreciate it when you can easily access your next winery table for tasting.

Give your palate a break

  1. Sample a beer from the assortment of tasty brews available. Hops and malt gives the mouth a brief respite from grape and tannins and allows you to return to the wine with renewed vigor. Just be careful about really hoppy beers, the bitter hops can dominate your tongue for a bit.
  2. Take advantage of the multiple water stations to whet your whistle. Staying hydrated will give extra staying power and clarity to enjoy your next sip of delicious Washington wine.

Moderation maximizes flavor appreciation

David LeClaire Sommelier explains wine spitting

Taste Washington Grand Tasting is truly an overwhelming plethora of wine. It is so easy to try so many wines that you simply can’t remember what you actually tasted due to intoxication, sheer number of wines to recall and/or just sensory overload.

  1. Pace your wine tasting with water breaks and bites of food.
  2. Ask others for good intel and a quick break from sipping.
  3. You don’t need to finish all the wine in your glass. Dump buckets are on every table. You won’t hurt the wine maker’s feelings, I promise. Wine makers would rather you can really taste and remember their wine.
  4. Wine tastings are the one place where it is Hip to Spit. Believe it or not, you will look like a pro to the winemakers, not a slob. Check out Leslie Kelly’s brief article and video about spitting at wine tastings like Taste Washington’s Grand Tasting.

Know what changes how wine tastes

  1. Normal tasting order of whites before reds, light weight to heavier wines, young to old and dry to sweet doesn’t match up with how wines are lined up at an event. Just not enough time and energy to traverse Century Link Event Center to maintain that tasting order.
  2. You can try that tasting order at a winery table, or maybe even one side of a row. I often will browse the wine list ahead of time and pick a spot where several white wines are to start my day. Wineries are arranged alphabetically, I will often start at the middle of the alphabet. The middle is less crowded at the onset.
  3. Many of the wines poured are new and may be very tannic. High tannins can dry your mouth and make you less taste sensitive.
    • Sample a restaurant tid bit with some fat, something fried, meaty or with a sauce, to restore your tannic mouth.
    • Washington has some great sparkling wines, try one to refresh your palate.
  4. Great food is abundant but not all great tasting foods, make all wines taste great.
    • Sweet foods will steal the fruit flavors of a drier wine. Look for sweeter wines in the dessert section.
    • Some foods, like asparagus and artichokes, just are not friendly to most wines but can be abundant in a spring time tasting. Nibble some cheese after such dishes to help prepare your mouth for more delicious wine at its best.


For comfort and more tips on finding treasure at Taste Washington, check out Top Ten Tips for Taste Washington Grand Tasting

Taste Washington Grand Tasting Tickets

March 23-24, 2018

Tickets are still available!