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How do I avoid palate exhaustion?



Hi everyone,

I love reading the society community posts so very happy to making my first one!

I’m going to the Averys Celebration of wine tasting this evening in Bristol. There will be around 100 wines to taste. I wondered if anyone had any advice on how to keep my palate fresh through such a large tasting. I attended a similar event in the summer and couldn’t really enjoy the later wines I tasted. They will serve bread and water with the wines and obviously spitting not swallowing will help enormously.

Thanks so much in advance and see you there if you’re going too.



Be selective.

Nip round at the start and pick 15 or 20 wines you really want to try. Just try them. Spit - religiously!

Then if you can manage more go round again.

Bread and water, eh? Generous! :rofl:


Excellent advice thank you!

Hmm which 15/20…


Think of it as a military campaign… Imagine your plan is to stop Brexit :slight_smile:

Also may help to think of it as a day’s work rather than as fun?


Bread can affect palate, so have a few cream crackers in your pocket as a reserve.


You don’t say how long you have for this: if possible, take a break of at least 15 minutes, maybe 30, to think about the first half, plan the second and eat the cream crackers (good idea).


I was taught that the nose does more than the mouth. Hence start with the colour, tears etc and then move to the bouquet. The mouth is only for the confirmation and the aftertaste or length as it is likely to be a bit ‘dirty’ even before you begin.
I’m not one for bread or biscuits but certainly agree with frequent slurps of water.
These days when tasting somewhere like Bellavita yesterday, I take far more time as I’m talking to the producers or their representatives. In the old days it was just one after another as quick as I could score and write notes!


Hi Nick
I was one of the lucky members to attend the Society’s autumn press tasting so I have some experience of this. First of all there were three of us so we divided the 73 wines on offer among ourselves - I would suggest you identify a group of wines that you really want to try.
Secondly take your time - we had 5 and a half hours available and this certainly helped. Spit don’t swallow! Even so you will absorb a certain amount of alcohol so taking your time will avoid this having too much of an effect. Take a break occasionally. Make copious notes as you go along so that you can refer to these later rather than trying to remember the subtle differences between the 100 wines on offer!
Drink plenty of water between tastings - this will avoid the taste of one wine carrying over to the next.
You will probably only be given 1 glass so make sure that is rinsed with water between each wine.
White or red first? We were surprised that many of the professional tasters from the press, actually tried the red before the white. Actually as long as you drink water/rinse glasses between tastings, I don’t think this makes much difference. But I would reiterate that you try the wines that interest you most first of all.
Hope that helps. Enjoy the event.


Haha! Ok will that will focus the mind wonderfully; I shall taste as if our EU membership depended on it


Ah great thanks Steve will do


Ah yes - we get three hours, so certainly a 15 minute break is possible


That’s very helpful thank you David


If you find that after a number of red wines, it all starts seeming the same, I believe you can try re-setting your palate with a glass of white, swirled and spit out, followed by some water (always a good idea!). Enjoy!!


After many years of doing white followed by red, I now find my palate stays fresher by alternating between red and white wines - a few of each colour at a time. I sometimes take some water between colours, e.g. after particularly tannic reds, but not always.

It also often works out well practically, as tables at large tastings often have both red and whiite wines.


I’ve been a few times, and I feel your pain.

I usually get the list, work out what I want to try, not too many obvs, do those first. Get some food, they usually do cheese or pork pie etc.

Then go for it again. It’s usually packed, not too much spitting going on.

Just enjoy.

Curry afterwards. LOL.


Lots of good advice. Averys have a nice list so lots of treats there! I’d try a few of the wines that most interest me, then have a rest and then go back to try more. Do spit (although I never spit anything really special!)


Eat mashed potato beforehand - something to do with lining the stomach. Might have been an Oz Clarke tip.

During the tasting if you feel your senses flagging… switch to champagne (must be the good stuff though) - will perk you up. Honest. Its my trick to get through Christmas day.

The snag with these tastings is you end up buying stuff you might not have otherwise.


The one I went to in Bath on Thursday was three and a half hours. Food before, food after, no spitting. By the end of the night the bloke at the Kir-Yianni table was our best mate in the world.

Glad I’m not a pro, don’t know how they do it.


Spitting. What a waste :joy:


Honestly, everything you taste is not always worth swallowing , plus I only have one liver :smile:

back to the initial question, I’d recommend drinking / mouth washing with water frequently during the tasting.
What numbs my palate is the amount of tannins that coat in as you go. So I make sure to try to wash them out regularly