Wine Tasting Etiquette

We hope you enjoy your visit to the beautiful Madera Wine Trail. To make your experience safe and enjoyable, we suggest the following recommendations.

  • Eat a hearty breakfast before starting your day and drink plenty of water throughout the day to stay hydrated.
  • Take your time when tasting each wine. If you do not want to finish the rest of a wine, buckets are provided for spitting or dumping. Do not feel that you need to sample every wine offered – taste what appeals to you.
  • Choose a realistic number of wineries to visit in a day. Four wineries in one day is typical, allowing you to learn something about each winery and sample quite a few wines – without your palette experiencing “taster’s fatigue.”
  • Try visiting two wineries before lunch and two wineries after lunch.
  • Be safe and always have a designated driver. Take advantage of the many transportation services available near the Madera Wine Trail. Reservations are recommended for large groups of 10 or more.
  • All transportation companies planning a trip to any winery members are required to register with the Madera Vintners Association prior to their visit. Responsible Transportation Partner agreement forms can be downloaded from our website.
  • Over-imbibers will not be served, even if you’re not driving. The wineries have no choice – it’s the law.
  • Stay overnight to make the most of your visit. There are many overnight providers to choose from in the area.
Wine Tasting Tips

Wine tasting can seem intimidating, but it’s really just a relaxing way to spend the day discovering liquid treasures crafted by passionate local vintners.

  • Tasting rooms are open year-round and close only on a few major holidays. Most are open from 10am to 5pm.
  • Usually tasting includes between 3 and 6 wines starting with lighter white wines through reds and finally dessert wines.
  • Throughout wine country you’ll find delicious, full service restaurants and delightful gift shops.
  • Wineries can offer up to ten wines. Most provide tasting notes describing their wines to help you distinguish different flavors and aromas. Making notes about each wine helps you decide which ones to bring home.
  • Wineries offer tastings as a service to help guests select their favorites. It is in good taste to purchase wine during your visit.
  • It is a good idea to rinse your glass and cleanse your palette throughout the tasting, but not always necessary after every wine.
  • Leave the perfume and cologne at home. Besides ruining your palette, it can ruin the palette and experience of those around you.
  • Spend a few days and get to know the people, places and products that make the Madera Wine Trail such a special place. Experience the breathtaking views of Madera County, the Sierra foothills, Yosemite National Park and the majestic beauty of the Sierra Nevada Mountains.
  • Enjoy the slow pace and relax.