Bon Vivant’s tips for attending big wine tasting events

By / Magazine / August 30th, 2018 / 8
I’ve got tickets to my first big wine tasting event. Any tips on approaching the over 300 wines they’ll be pouring?

Saying that big wine tasting events can be overwhelming is an understatement. It doesn’t matter if you’re a seasoned know-it-all or someone new to the experience, a little planning goes a long way.

Assuming your time at the fest is limited to an afternoon or evening, the chances of you trying the full lineup are slim to none, so go to its website and download the list of what’s being featured. Pick two dozen or so that you consider “must tries” and guide yourself around the layout with the idea that if you get a sip of just your picks, your time has been well spent. The fun part is that while you’re checking off those wines you need to taste, I guarantee that others will reveal themselves along the way.

A few tips: 1) Eat something before you go. Unless the word “food” is in the title of your festival, odds are the eatable lineup will be cheese and bread. Not a good base to build a few hours of wine appreciation on; 2) wear comfortable shoes. You’re going to be standing; 3) bring your smartphone so you can shoot your favourites. Taking notes is so 2016; and 4) go with an open mind, not just an open mouth. There will be plenty of juice you’ve never tried. Don’t stay in your comfort zone. This is a chance to expand your palate by trying new things.


Fresh, funny and down-to-earth, Peter Rockwell is the everyman's wine writer. Born in Halifax, Nova Scotia he's worked in the liquor industry for over 30 years and has written about wine, spirits & beer since graduating from the School of Journalism at the University of King's College in 1986. His reviews and feature articles have been published in Tidings, Vines, Occasions, Where and on to name a few; he has been a weekly on-air wine feature columnist for both CBC-TV and Global Television and his wine column 'Liquid Assets' appeared weekly in two of Nova Scotia's daily newspapers, 'The Halifax Daily News' and 'The Cape Breton Post.' Today Peter's irreverent answer man column 'Bon Vivant' appears each month in Tidings Magazine and his weekly 'Liquid Assets' column is published across Canada in editions of the METRO newspaper. When not drinking at home, and at work, Peter travels the globe looking for something to fill his glass and put into words.

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