Wine Word of the Week: Spitting

By Kori ~ May 17th, 2011.

This week’s Wine Word of the Week is spitting.

Official definition from Jancis Robinson’s The Oxford Companion to Wine:
Spitting is an essential practice at professional tastings where several dozen, often more than 100, wines are regularly offered at the same time. Members of the wine trade, and wine writers, rapidly lose any inhibitions about spitting in public. Since there are no taste receptors in the throat, spitting allows the taster to form a full impression of each wine, while minimizing the blunting effects of alcohol. It does not, unfortunately, leave the taster completely unaffected by alcohol. Some ethanol is vaporized and absorbed in the nose and mouth and, no matter how assiduous the taster, it is extremely difficult to prevent any liquid from dribbling down the throat.

Layman’s terms from Kori:
Spitting is a must for wine professionals at tastings where many wines are being served. However, spitting should not be limited to wine professionals. Anyone attending a large tasting event or visiting a number of wineries in a single day would be well served by spitting. Otherwise, you end up drinking too much which won’t feel good the next morning and you won’t be able to really tell which wines you like and don’t like after the first few you taste.

Filed under: Wine Word of the Week

Reader's Comments

  1. TheGourmetCoffeeGuy | May 22nd, 2011 at 8:49 pm

    Kori, as usual, your word of the week if very interesting.
    Good point about the effect of tasting wine over and over, despite spitting in between, the alcoholic effect will be there…
    I suppose being selective in the tasting helps ensure wine appreciation plus taking the time to learn about the wine master, the vineyard, the history behind the wine.
    Thank you for sharing your insights.

  2. Kori | May 24th, 2011 at 1:49 pm

    Thanks for your kind words. Cheers!