Tastings: Equipment

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

  • About

The only essential equipment for a wine tasting, apart from the wine, is suitable glasses and, if bottles are stoppered with a cork, a corkscrew, but it is almost impossible to hold a tasting without a substantial area of flat surface on which to put bottles and glasses safely, usually in the form of a table to which there is good access. Next most useful objects are undoubtedly spittoons (see spitting), and something in which to pour away leftover wine from a tasting sample (bottles plus funnels are customary although spittoons can also be used for this purpose). The thoughtful organizer ensures that there is some plain white surface against which to hold a glassful of wine (see tasting). This typically involves lining up bottles on a table with a white surface (to see a wine’s colour and clarity most easily) or a covering such as a tablecloth or sheet. A truly assiduous host provides tasters with a tasting sheet on which is a full and accurate list of wines to be tasted, in the correct order, with appropriate space for tasting notes. Water for rinsing of glasses and palates and some neutral-tasting food for ‘cleaning the palate’ can be helpful too. Cheese is usually too strong (see food and wine matching); bread or dry, savoury crackers are generally preferred by professionals.