Give your glass a rinse with wine, not water.July 30, 2013
We see this is a lot in the tasting room and at offsite tastings, people rinse their glass between tastes with water. Although this isn’t a huge problem, (sometimes you really want to drink water), it definitely can change the taste of the wine you are about to receive. Rinsing your glass with water will dilute the wine, can leave a chlorine taste or aroma in the glass and possibly even change the alcohol content. The residual water left in the glass will change the texture of the wine, alter the finish, and you will have a hard time getting the wine to coat the glass to evaluate the legs.
What should you do instead? Remember that there is no real need to rinse between tastes. Most wine tastings are designed to taste from lightest to heaviest. The composition of the small remainder of wine that is left in the glass is more similar to the wine that you are about to taste than water would be. If you still feel the need to rinse, you can “prime” your glass with the next taste of wine. Ask your server for a very small sample to rinse your glass then dump and ask for your full taste. They will appreciate that you are asking for a proper taste of their wine.
Cheers and enjoy your next wine tasting!