If you’ve ever been to a wine tasting event, you might have noticed people spitting out their wine after sloshing it around inside their mouths. This might sound rude and completely insane to beginner wine drinkers, but surprisingly, it is actually suggested that you spit your wine out at a wine tasting.


If you’re at a wine tasting, should you spit or swallow?

It’s best to spit, but you won’t be judged for swallowing; just don’t do what this guy is doing…


Why do you spit out wine when tasting?

You spit so you don’t get sloshed, wear your tie around your head and dance on the tables. The little metal spit buckets on the table at a tasting are not just to dump out wine you don’t like.

Wine tastings are a classy event!

Consider that other people at the tasting likely want to listen to the winemaker or sommelier (or whoever is talking about the wine) to learn. When people get tipsy, they tend to get louder and that can make learning about the wines more difficult. By all means, have fun. After all, it is just wine, a super tasty grape juice that offers a little buzz. Just be respectful of those around you and of everything that went into the making of that wine so you could swirl it around in your little glass and decide if you like it after one sip.


This is a wine tasting spit bucket—use it!

wine tasting spit buck. spit or swallow?

Spit Bucket


What’s a Wine Spit Bucket Called?

It’s literally just called a spit bucket; some will also call it a dump bucket or a spittoon—but spit bucket is the common name.


Wine Spitting – A Sommelier’s Tip

Don’t laugh when someone else spits their wine. Spitting is a common edict because it allows a person tasting wine to stay sober and better-assess the flavours of each wine.


Will I still get flavour from the wine if I Don’t swallow?

The short answer is yes— you will still experience the flavour of wine even if you don’t swallow it. While the majority of taste buds are on your tongue, you also have some in your lips, cheeks, and the roof of your mouth; you even have taste buds at the back of your throat and all the way down to your stomach. However, the bulk of your taste experience will be from your tongue.


How to Spit Wine at a Wine Tasting:

Spitting your wine out doesn’t mean you’re not going to get the full effect of the flavour and texture of the wine. When you’re tasting (not drinking) wine, the goal is to ensure that the wine hits every part of your mouth. Swish it around and cover your tongue, inside of your cheeks and roof of your mouth. You can gargle it like mouthwash if that’s your thing. Just make sure the wine is sloshed around so you’re not only experiencing the flavour, but also all of the structural elements of the wine like the body, acidity, tannins and alcohol. Keep in mind that inevitably some of the wine is going to trickle down your throat and meet up with the tastebuds that are hanging out there. This means that no matter how much you spit, you’re probably swallowing a little, too.


Video: How to Spit Wine Like a Pro


Will I look stupid if I spit out wine at a tasting?


Of course, you will. You’re going to look stupid if you spit, but you’re going to look worse if you end up with your skirt hiked up around your waist trying to do the River Dance in the middle of a bunch of wine snobs. Spitting looks stupid. Being wasted at a wine tasting event looks stupid. Pick your stupid.

Besides, you’re not the only one spitting. Like misery, stupid loves company. We all look stupid spitting out our wine. That’s okay. Consider it your good deed for the day.


It’s Hip to Spit (Your Wine)

I’m gonna bottom line it for you: Drink Responsibly. Please. I know it might be hard to believe, but the purpose of a wine tasting is not to get shmammered! If that’s your goal, there are other occasions and venues that can accommodate you. Hey, we all let loose every once in a while. Even a total stuck-up wine nerd like me gets a little wild and crazy every so often. Okay, but not that often. I mean, I really hate it if I’m not in control. It’s true. Ask my Ex. Wait, where was I? Oh yeah, be responsible! Huey Lewis said it best, “It’s Hip To Be Square.”


To answer your question, “Should I spit, or should I swallow – my wine.” The answer is (almost) always spit.


Now that you’re a pro at tasting wine and using a spit bucket, learn more “how-tos”…