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Walkaround tastings

Our first TWS walkaround tasting in Reading on Tuesday, and we are wondering if there is any advice that people could offer, on what to expect, how to get the most out of the evening, etc.

Obviously, we have booked a hotel room for the night so that we don’t need to worry about getting home. From the email, there appears to be 30 wines available to taste and some immediately appeal more than others, but I guess the idea is to expand your vinous horizons by trying wines that you would not normally consider (and I’m all for that).

The session is scheduled for 2.5 hours, so a theoretical maximum of 5 minutes per wine by my calculation, not including seconds :smiley:

Any practical tips gratefully received, thanks :slight_smile:


Get there a bit early if you can. They’ve taken to starting a few minutes early and you might be able to taste the sparkling wines (which is where many start) before the scrum around the tables builds up.

The wines at this tasting are meant to be compared side by side with an alternative, which might reduce the amount of dodging around the room. Very often you might want to try several wines of the same varietal, one after the other, but that won’t be the case this time.

Some people go round more or less in numerical order, but this is not necessarily recommended. Be prepared to be flexible in your tasting order.

If you are on your own, or with one other, you should have time to get round. If in a group it might be more difficult.

Most of all, relax and enjoy. I certainly plan to.


Use the list to eliminate a few (any styles you know you never drink: I cross out all the sparkling).

If there are any you are really curious about/anxious to try/whatever, of course go there first. Then:

Start at the tables with the highest numbers (unless you arrive late, in which case, at the lowest) to have some space.

Try to do 2-3 passes: whites, reds, sweet

Keep notes so you can tell us about them (after you have ordered).

Enjoy it!


If you can’t get there before the scrum around the tables starts, just start at the table with the least people around it.

At the recent South African walk around in London, I did reds first, which while it did fry my tastebuds a bit for the whites, did make it far more relaxed than they sometimes are when trying to get to the front for a glass of something.

Enjoy it!


It’s an opportunity to try those styles that you “think” you don’t like…you never know when you “might” change your mind.


Thanks everyone, most helpful.

Really looking forward to it now and have good intentions of taking notes and reporting back. Hopefully that plan will survive contact with the wine :blush: :wine_glass:


My suggestions are to perhaps not read the tasting notes before actually tasting - preconceptions easily affect one’s judgement, best to let your taste buds decide.

Definitely try something you thought you might hate - great opportunity to try something new.

Rinse your glass from time to time and drinking some water helps clear the palate (and re-hydrate).

Don’t be afraid to spit - in fact, best to spit most samples unless you find you love it, which then defines those wines you liked the most.

I find written notes can get, shall we say, a little illegible towards the end - a tick system may be easier? Above all, enjoy!!


I always make a note of which number wine it is I have tasted so I know on reflection how much my notes/grading may be due to how many wines I have tried.

Apart from any useful or interesting information from the wine maker, the only things I make notes on are colour and whether it smells nice as I think these will remain constant despite lebel of intoxication. The final verdict is either a “not great”, “ok”, “good” or “v.good”

Any that I think I would like to purchase in the future are marked with a tick next to the price.

When I need to make a purchase I can then run down the ticks knowing what my budget is and select accordingly.


Although called ‘walkaround’, there will be a few seats around the edge. Go there, with some crackers and water, about half way through and check what is still on your list.


Don’t be afraid to spit - in fact, best to spit most samples unless you find you love it, which then defines those wines you liked the most

Sound advice, thanks, I will try to keep this in mind, but it won’t be easy.

There is a school of thought that advocates this as a stratagem to avoid palate fatigue later in the day (the thought being that the white wines effectively cleanse the palate of all those young sticky tannins).

We tried it in our WSET a couple of times and I much preferred it to be honest.


Having done a grand total of ONE tasting with TWS (70+ wines in a day) I can say that 30 in 2 1/2 hours is achievable but hard work if you do all. You will get sidetracked by conversations.

Allow good amount of time at the end to backtrack over your favourites, re-assess & confirm your thoughts.

As others have already said: pre-select the ones you are interested in and make sure they get due attention.

The tasting list is really diverse. You’re comparing apples with pears, and gooseberries with damsons. I do not know how you deal with that!

Wear a wine coloured shirt. And beware the zalto glasses which are wafer thin.


Yes, the pairs are interesting. 2 pinot noirs against each other, xinomavro with Barolo, Gewurztraminer vs Moschofilero - these all make sense to me. But Albarino vs Viognier? Is Furmint one to compare with Chardonnay? The tasting theme is ‘If you like that, try this.’

Looking forward to it, anyway.

BTW, the glasses used at these tastings are actually quite robust (not Zaltos, which I suspect are reserved for press tastings and the like).


I have a friend (really!) whose policy is to start with the most expensive wines in case they run out.

The walkround is an opportunity to taste wines you haven’t had and are thinking of as a possible buy.

I like to try rare or unusual varieties.


I have a friend (really!) whose policy is to start with the most expensive wines in case they run out.

That makes a lot of sense, especially considering that leaving the expensive wines to last might not be doing them justice if your palate is somewhat jaded by that time.

I quite like the idea of doing the reds first, as @strawpig and @Tannatastic mentioned, will float the idea with my better half :+1:

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Though it might mean you have to spit a lot of the better wines!

The only time I’ve been to a TWS tasting where they’ve run out of anything was a secret under the counter wine, rather than any of the advertised.

I did try that technique for a while but found it’s usually better to save it for last as it can completely fry any tastebuds/spoil anything afterwards.


Yes, tasting something good after something spectacular is atrocious for the budget, as well as any considered appreciation


At events where the producer is pouring the wine I always ask them what order they suggest tasting them in as they will suggest the order that shows them best.

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I’m going to the Bordeaux tasting in London this Monday coming. When do you normally find out the wines?

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