Central Coastin’: A Fireside Chat with Firestone’s Head Winemaker

Since our launch in Santa Ynez Valley we’ve made some great friends in Wine Country. Among them is Paul, Head Winemaker, at Firestone Vineyard. We asked Paul to teach us a little bit about wine etiquette and what to expect from a wine tasting.

Is wine tasting suppose to be a fancy affair?:

While there are naked wines, naked people should not be in the tasting room, just kidding, but wear casual attire! This is wine tasting, not an ambassador’s dinner. You’re there to relax. When I come in on the weekends, with my family, I’m there in shorts, t-shirts and flip flops, so wear whatever you’d like. Just don’t go naked.

What should I definitely NOT do at a wine tasting?

Do not rinse your glass out with water in between servings of different wines. When you start the tasting you’ll start off with a dry glass. When you add water in between pours you’ll dilute the acid and tannin in the wine.  Also, don’t wear perfume or cologne! The smell will taint your senses.

Why do wine tastings typically progress from Whites to Reds?

Tannin is a plant compound that adds structure to wine. It typically will make your mouth taste dry. Wine tastings will typically progress from lighter to heavier tannins. You don’t want to taint the palette too early so you’ll start with whites. A lot of thought goes into the order of the wine tasting!

What are your thoughts on rappers shouting-out wines in their songs?

50 cent, Drake, Soulja boy, Gucci Mane are all on my channel 3 Serius xm. I would love for one of them to mention Firestone! Drake promoted Moscato in “Do It Now”. Typically if you’re new to wine, you’ll start with a sweeter sparkling wine like Moscato, then progress to white, then Pinot, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon.

If Drake walked into Firestone tomorrow, what would you recommend for him?

If Drake came in after drinking Moscato, I’d take it a step down and pour him my Riesling. It has bright apple, flowerful aromatics, that are a little sweeter than Moscato. It’s sweeter because you have to stop fermentation early so the wine remains sweet. The residual sugar comes from the grape! It’s a good stepping stone wine to drier wines.

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