It’s not every internship that provides wine tasting for the interns in the name of research but, a few weeks ago, that’s exactly what this one did. On September 6, we took a trip to the Finger Lakes so that I could get a “taste” of the region and the wine tasting experience—purely for the purposes of researching this blog post, of course. Each winery is unique and has its own quirks, some quirkier than others, but there are certain elements that are common among all of them.

Generally, when you arrive at a winery, you will be given a list of the wines that are available for you to taste. You will be asked to pick the ones you would like to try, with a maximum of around six. After choosing your wines (and paying the fee), you will be served your choices one at a time. Upon receiving each glass, the procedure is to swirl the wine in the glass to release the aromas, smell the wine, check the color of the wine by tilting the glass and seeing how the light shines through it, and, finally, taste the wine. There are usually crackers available so that you can cleanse your palate between wines. The whole process doesn’t take very long so, once you’ve finished your selections, you can leave and easily visit a few more wineries before heading home feeling happy, fulfilled, and possibly in possession of a couple of bottles of wine.

Wine tasting in the United States is a great experience, but wine tasting in Italy is completely different. We set aside a full day to go wine tasting in the Finger Lakes and we were able to visit three wineries, go on a hike, and have a picnic. However, in Italy, a full day of wine tasting is a full day at one winery. These tastings last for hours because the wineries will take you through the process from start to finish. You can have a tour of the vineyard and the wine cellars, where the tour guides (who are often the owners of the wineries) will show you how they make their wines, treating you as a guest to whom they are imparting the family secret. Instead of crackers, you will be given a full lunch so you can see how each wine complements the food it should be paired with and how each food brings out even the most subtle flavors of the wine. When you pay for a wine tasting in Italy, you are paying more for the full meal and the experience than you are for the wine itself.

It may be difficult to believe that something as simple as wine tasting can be so vastly different in Italy, but that type of experience is what Italian life is all about. In Italy, time is unimportant. Life is about experiencing everything as it happens and savoring each and every moment. Fortunately, many of those moments come with wine included.

By Nicole M. ~ Public Relations Specialist