Wine Taster's Survival Guide:
A Book of Tips, Tales, and Tasting Room Etiquette

by Kirsten Telander & Shellie Slettebak                                                            

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Enter as Strangers, Leave as Friends

Winery tasting rooms bring together an eclectic cross-section of people. Enter as strangers, leave as friends may be an over-used quip, but it rings true while wine tasting with the passion for wine and desire to learn more about it as the common denominator.

We've witnessed fascinating conversations and coincidences among tasters, not to mention dinner invitations, job offers, and even vacations planned together. We've seen long-lost friends reunited, and recently, witnessed an engagement.

We still email folks that we've had stimulating conversations with, and have experienced the six degrees of separation again and again with people from around the world. As we've provided in-depth information about our local wine region, we've learned about other regions - wine tasters, once hooked, plan many a vacation around tasting. We've also shared and received invaluable advice on restaurants, recreation, good books, and music... after all, wine is a lifestyle product. 

But there is a fine line between sharing and advising. Refrain from offering unsolicited advice or information to your fellow tasters. On my honeymoon, a gentleman standing next to my husband and me at the tasting bar of Folie a' Deux Winery continuously corrected our pronunciation of certain obscure French words. I should have told him that "Folie a' Deux" is, in fact, a French psychiatric term that "refers to a paranoid or psychotic condition shared by two persons" (, and that he was driving me insane.



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