There is a lot of speculation about wine tasters spitting their wine. Spitting wine during tastings is actually quite an important part of the process for wine professionals.
All professional tastings, including competitions and trade tastings make sure to keep a spit bucket or a spit cup (also known as spittoons) beside each taster so they can spit their wine after tasting.
And yes, while spitting may be frowned upon in civilised society, in the wine world, the more you spit your wine, the more distinguished you are.
However, a lot of people don’t know why wine professionals actually spit their wine. No, it’s not a gimmick or an act of snobbery.
So let’s dive into 3 reasons why tasters actually spit their wine.
1. It allows you to stay sober
At professional wine tastings like competitions or trade tastings, one has to evaluate the quality and style of different wines, and most of the time, there are several wines that are tasted.
In bigger competitions, for example the Decanter World Wine Awards, one person ends up tasting over 100 wines a day. Or perhaps even if you’re attending a tasting at a restaurant or bar, or at a winery, where you have to taste a plethora of wines, it’s advisable to spit in order to stay sober.
2. It allows you to appreciate the aromas
This might be hard to believe, but you don’t need to swallow wine in order to appreciate its aromas and flavours. When you sniff the wine and sip the wine, the wine releases aromatic notes, which can be sensed through the retro-olfaction. This refers to a sensory modality which helps you perceive the layers of flavours in foods and drinks.
3. It allows you to taste wine better
Yes, it truly does. After spitting the wine, you are able to taste and evaluate the structure of the wine better. By spitting, you will be able to feel more of the wine on your palate, like recognising the smooth, velvety tannins, or understanding a wine’s acidity and overall mouthfeel.
So remember, in the wine world, spitting wine is not an act of snobbery, it is an act of sobriety.
Originally published July 19, 2022