Skip to content

Spit or swallow… at a wine tasting


Question from Chris: I’ve been invited to a wine tasting on the weekend and I notice at these kinds of events people spit their wine. It seems crazy to me but is it uncouth to swallow? What is the wine etiquette here?

In a nut shell: Spitting at a wine tasting is common because the drunker you get the less you can taste which kind of defeats the purpose of going to a wine tasting in the first place. But there are definitely some instances where it would be rude not to swallow (or at least I think so anyway)…

In a clam shell: The punters are divided – there are those that spit and those that swallow. If you’re new to the game it can be hard to know what to do when you’ve been raised to believe that spitting anything in public is rude, not to mention wasteful!

Spitting is perfectly acceptable (if not encouraged) at a wine tasting because if you tried to swallow all the wine on offer you’d end up consuming a few bottle of plonk in a short period of time which may leave you in a coma or somersaulting your way out of there. Nothing wrong with a few somersaults but if you’ve become that way inclined you’re probably not tasting the wine either which could result in a few cases purchased from the attractive sale assistant that don’t taste so good when you’re sober. Fail!

Swallowing isn’t necessary to actually taste the wine. By taking a small sip and swishing is around before spitting you’ll achieve the same outcome which is to taste the wine. With so many wines on offer you don’t want to get boozy before you get to the ‘exceptional stand’ only to guzzle it down like you did the last 20. If you spit the majority then I’m all for swallowing the outstanding wines and getting a top up! Some wines are just too delicious to let go to waste.

With regard to spitting just grab the bucket and spit. There’s no art (although some will claim there is) to it. At the end of the day the aim is to get the contents of your mouth square in the bucket and whatever works for you works for me! It goes without saying that you don’t want to just open your mouth and let it dribble out (yuck) or you’ll end up with wine all over your chin and top. Apply a little force but watch out for backsplash!

Voila! Who would have thought I’d be educating on spitting and swallowing!


Image from

No comments yet

Leave a Reply

You may use basic HTML in your comments. Your email address will not be published.

Subscribe to this comment feed via RSS