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Here's some wine tasting etiquette to help you feel more comfortable and know what to expect when tasting wine in Alsace...
Because you may be a little nervous about walking into a wine tasting room in Alsace.
Especially if French isn't your native language.
Or maybe you only know a few words of German.
These are the basic things that you really need to know before you go wine tasting in this French wine region and it will apply to others as well.
Hi, I'm Suzele and I'm here to help you create a more interesting, one of a kind trip to Alsace France. There is a lot of useful information that you can use to plan your trip yourself... or... I can do ALL the work for you on a private tour made just for you!
If you're looking to really expand your knowledge of wine (and especially white wine), there's a lot more to know of course, but this will get you through the basics : )
Just keep in mind that Alsace wine is much more than just a few grape varieties! And the best wines are not necessarily in the most touristy villages.
We have so much to offer you if you are curious about white wine!
So so so so much!
Drinking and Driving in Alsace
Be careful...from personal experience, I've learned the hard way that you can quite easily find yourself tipsy or more at just one wine tasting! All the more reason to hire someone to take you on an Alsace Wine tour (ahem, ahem points at self and smiles) so you can enjoy yourself fully on the wonderful trip to Alsace that you are planning now! : D
One of the first things you will notice when you are driving around
on the Alsatian Wine Road is the signs for the wine tasting rooms...
Caveau de Dégustation
Dégustation de Vin
It's French for "Wine Tasting Room and Wine Shop"
You won't find many wineries with a tasting room attached to the actual wine production area.
The wine makers need a lot of space to press the grapes, ferment the wine, age the wine, bottle the wine, and then ship it off.
Not to mention the space for storing the wine after it's bottled...
And most of the villages you will be visiting won't have that sort of building in the middle of the village.
So the caveau de dégustation is often in the village and the wine production area normally is somewhere else...
Maybe in the same village...
Or maybe in another village near by.
After you have found a Caveau de Dégustation...
You may be a little nervous about your wine tasting etiquette if you don't speak French very well...
And I don't blame you at all...
The first time I did a wine tasting in Alsace, I was too!
So what is the wine tasting etiquette in Alsace?
Ok...if you don't speak or understand French, you can't ask questions about the wine and learn more about how they make their wine or where they make their wine.
The first thing they will do is give you a list of the wines they have available.
This is the traditional way the small Alsatian wine producers sell their wine...
The more touristy wine producers do things a bit differently because they get so
many people coming through...like tour buses full of people...
I personally find them a bit standardized and commercial, not the same feeling that you can get from the smaller producers personally...
The main advantage for the touristy wine tasting rooms is how well they can process a large group in a uniform manner...and they usually have someone who speaks English.
If you really want to try a little of everything...
Then start at the top of the list and work your way down to the bottom. If you start in the middle and then go back to the top, the bolder tasting wines will influence your tastebuds and the lighter ones might seem to taste like water.
In traditional wine tasting etiquette, you can choose whichever wine you would like to taste.
As for the more modern, non tradtional wine tasting experiences, you'll have less flexibility in which wines you can try. You may even have to pay something to taste some of the wines.
And if you are planning on tasting a lot of wine, for your own safety, please do not drive.
French law allows for about 2 glasses of wine on average to reach the legal limit for intoxication (for most people).
I would love to organize an Alsace Wine tour for you! : ) Wine, food, scenery and much more!
Usually it won't cost you a thing to taste wine in Alsace...
That's the way it usually works traditionally in a small wine producer's shop.
But you are expected to buy a bottle or two of wine which isn't such a bad deal because they can cost you as little as 6€ or as much as 50€ (and I've seen higher prices in certain wineries).
Usually when the winery has a really good year, you can tell by the difference in price...
But of course some wineries have higher prices for different reasons. Like supply is low and demand is high.
To give you an example...
The last winery I visited had bottles ranging in price from 7€ to 80€.
Some wineries are doing things differently...
In the more touristy wine tasting rooms, the wineries may give you the option of paying for a full tasting of their wines or tasting their wines and then buying a few bottles...
They do this because they get bus loads of tourists.
Either way the person welcoming you will let you know what your options are...
The more touristy tasting rooms are more likely to have someone who speaks some English.
The French Wine Region of Alsace
The Different Types of Wine in Alsace and Terroir
The Different Types of White Wine in Alsace
A Short History of French Wine and the French Wine Laws
Alsace Winery Reviews and Recommendations