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Written by Justin Hammack
Madeline Puckette Australia Tasting Room
Wine Tasting in Australia

Why do people spit wine?

Spit or swallow, that is the question. You’ll find a lot of people advocating it’s ‘cool to spit’ and you know what?  It is. And it’s time you learn how to spit wine and why you should.

Why do people spit wine while tasting?  The most compelling reason to spit is because you can’t taste wine while drunk. You’re at a wine tasting, right? There are technical reasons why spitting (or even swallowing) can help when tasting wine, but it’s sufficient to simply introduce the idea that spitting is an option.

At a typical wine tasting event we conservatively taste ~40 wines, each pour is about 2 oz. Let me put on my math hat and do some calculations..

Wine Tasting Maths

40 wines x 2 oz pours = 80 oz of wine

80 oz / 5 oz per glass = 16 glasses of wine

16 glasses of wine / 2 hours of wine tasting = 8 glasses an hour

There are about 5 glasses of wine per bottle. At that rate I’d average about 1.5 bottles of wine per hour. Or in other words, I’d end up in a coma if I swallowed at wine tastings.

How to Spit Wine (in slow motion)

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Stepy by Step How to Spit Wine

First, make sure you know where the spit bucket is. Then take a medium size sip of wine and swish it around, think mouthwash but with less contact on your teeth. Focus on what you’re tasting as it coats your tongue. You’ll eventually develop your own style for how to swish. At this point you’ll probably want to spit because you have old foamy lukewarm wine in your mouth. Grab that bucket and spit like a sailor.  There are people who will claim there is a right and a wrong way to do it. But if you’re just getting started in wine, which I’m guessing is true because you’re reading this, then that’s all you need to know to get started.

When to Swallow

We here at Wine Folly mostly spit, though there are those among us who are known on occasion to swallow.  If the wine is truly exceptional, swallowing can give you a sense of what drinking a full glass would taste like.  Swallowing allows the wine to coat the furthest back part of your palate as well as release additional aromas when exhaling. It also could just be that the wine is too delicious to let it go to waste.

Ultimately wine is a social experience and it’s best enjoyed in the company of the others, responsibly and in moderation. You can’t be a good friend if you’re not lucid.

Madeline Puckette Drunk


If you’re out wine tasting and have a designated driver, then by all means swallow the wine if you’re enjoying it! In fact, you’ll probably get a better sense of the wine if you actually drink it. Just remember that the more intoxicated you become, the less you’ll be able to taste new wines and the more likely you’re going to buy something you’ll end up regretting!


Here is a perfect example of my own drunken regrets: Love in the Cellar: Cold & Wet

p.s. If you can guess where I am in the above pictures you get a gold star!

Written byJustin Hammack

When I'm not drinking wine, I'm also.. a rails developer, vegetarian foodie, coffee addict, casual gamer, lover of cult movies, driver of insane turbo-2.0L ... in Seattle.

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