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Rubino Estates Winery
July 28, 2023 | Rubino Estates Winery

A Guide to Blind Wine Tasting

Do you trust a bottle you can’t see? If you have ever bought a wine based only on its label, you know that it’s easy to judge a book by its cover. While we love our beautiful labels, blind tasting offers a new perspective and offers the potential to help you learn more about what you love about a wine. As a plus, it’s just plain fun! Using the tips and ideas provided here, we hope you’ll gather your favorite wine lovers and make it a party.

What is “blind” tasting? 

A blind wine tasting is when you try a wine without first knowing what it is. We like to cover the whole bottle with our handy numbered wine bags so it’s easy to keep track of which bottle is which, and it makes for a dramatic reveal when it’s time to unveil the bottles. If you host a blind tasting, choose a few bottles that have something in common, and see if you and your guests can tell them apart. 

What should the variable be? 

The variable you choose for your blind tasting depends on how dramatic you want the differences to be. You could do a “vertical” tasting, where all the wines are the same varietal and producer, but different vintages, i.e. a 2016 Rubino Estates Sangiovese, a 2017 Rubino Estates Sangiovese, a 2018…and so on. You can also set up a “horizontal” tasting selection, which features wines from a single vintage and producer but different varietals: a 2019 Rubino Estates Barbera, a 2019 Rubino Estates Sangiovese, a 2019 Rubino Estates red blend…and so on. You can also do a flight that covers a region, like a set of Livermore Valley Petite Sirahs from different wineries in the region. You can also do a blind tasting based on price range, with categories like a $10-20 bottle, $21-30 bottle, $31-40, and beyond.  

Why do a blind tasting?

Blind wine tasting doesn’t have to be complicated, it just offers you a way to learn about wine and have some fun with friends. Take it as an opportunity to try wines objectively, enjoying them without the influence of knowing the price, region, winery, or other variables that play into our perception of wines. You might learn more about what you really like, or confirm what you already know! It’s okay to relax, enjoy yourself, and don't take it too seriously.

Other tips and tricks 

Remind your guests that wine is about more than just the taste. Swirling the wine, examining the color, and enjoying the aroma all provide hints to a wine’s identity. Rinse your glass or get a new one between wines so you can start fresh with each new one. You may also want some tasty snacks like cured meats and cheeses to balance the palate. If you’re the competitive type, we encourage you to make a game of your blind tasting! Whoever’s guesses are the closest to the correct answers gets to take home a prize bottle! Alternatively, you can have a sheet of possible answers, and whoever makes the most correct matches is crowned the winner. 

We hope you enjoy a new way to enjoy tasting good wines with good friends. Salute!


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