I have noticed that a lot of people want to know how to choose a wine tasting outfit. I put together some tips that will help you have a great experience tasting at a winery! HINT: expect some physical activity, and balance between comfort and class.
Your shoes should be sturdy and comfortable.
A lot of people wear sandals and open-toed shoes to wineries, which I discourage a little, especially if you’re going to tour or explore the winery at all (and I’m betting you will). Most wineries are vast properties with many buildings and areas to explore, so expect to do a lot of walking! Comfortable, sturdy shoes are the best choice. Boots might work too if the season is right. Finally, keep in mind that you may be standing at a bar when tasting. It’s your choice, but stilettos and other heels are probably a no-go.
On the other hand, if you’re just going to taste, sandals may not be a bad choice. But it’s hard to resist exploring a winery and enjoying the atmosphere, even if you’ve visited before.
Dress to impress, but as with shoes, try to balance in some comfort.
When it comes to formality, I will say this: after watching hundreds of people at wine festivals and wineries, most people know what to wear and can balance between comfort and style. Casual spring dresses, blouses, chino shorts or pants, short-sleeve button ups, and colored jeans are all great choices. Wineries are happy places steeped in nature, and these clothes reflect that mood perfectly. Be cute, but still be prepared to walk around a little.
In short: any outfit that makes you feel comfortable yet classy is a winner!
I notice people usually wear nice pastel or earth colors. These are great choices, but there is another important thing I’m going to tell you…
Be mindful of the colors you’re wearing in your wine tasting outfit.
Not because of seasonal etiquette, but because of red wine! Many people love wearing summery white dresses and pants to wine events, as well as floral prints. White and cream outfits are a stylish choice for your wine tasting outfit, but be careful with any light color because you’re likely to get some red wine on your outfit by the end of the day. Something red, burgundy, or dark will hide potential stains better. Floral prints may hide wine stains also. Or, you could choose a light-colored outfit and wear those stains as a badge of honor!
Be prepared to get a little dirty in your wine tasting outfit!
If you’re walking in the vineyard, expect dirt at the very least, and don’t be surprised if you step in mud. You may want to sit in grass if there is any point, so grass stains are also a possibility. Bring a blanket if you want to avoid this. If you’re out in the heat, you could get sweaty, so make sure you’re drinking water and staying hydrated! Finally, if you’re visiting during crush (the season when wineries make their wine), be prepared to encounter lots of messes if you visit the winemaking area.
Go light on the jewelry and accessories.
Anything goes for jewelry, but bulky jewelry may not be the most comfortable. Go with what makes you feel the best. A backpack or smaller purse works better than a large purse. Tote bags can work if you don’t mind carrying one around. The key is to not carry too much on you.
Skip the perfume, cologne, and smelly lotions. These scents could prevent you, and others, from fully enjoying the wine you’re tasting. You want to smell the wine you’re tasting, not your perfume!
Speaking of enjoying wine, learning about the science of wine aromas with this article from Wine Folly can help you better enjoy wine when you go tasting!
Incorporate every piece of clothing with the word “Sun” into your wine tasting outfit.
In addition to being comfortable, your accessories should protect you from the weather. Therefore, it’s a good idea to bring your sun hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, and any other sun protection you have. Wineries are a great place to sit outside and enjoy nature, but that comes with sun exposure.
Furthermore, if you’re visiting a cellar, you may also want to bring a light jacket. Cellars are pretty cold because wine keeps best at cooler temperatures.
Considering wine festivals involve lots of walking outdoors in the sun, all of these tips apply to choosing a wine festival outfit as well. If you want some tips on attending a wine festival, check out my article on wine festival do’s and don’ts.
As for t-shirts and jeans:
Overall, wearing t-shirts and jeans depends on the winery and how special the occasion is. Because wineries have a lot of outdoor activities, jeans often aren’t a bad choice. On the other hand, you may want to dress up a little more if you are taking a tour of several wineries, or visiting a special winery in a region like Napa or Sonoma. I generally say err on the side of formality, unless you’re a regular at the tasting room. Try to go for colored jeans or chinos. One of my best friends works at a winery and I wear jeans and t-shirts to go visit him ALL. THE. TIME. So do the rest of his regulars and the winery club members.
If you enjoy dressing up a little, wineries are the best place to do so. Just keep the weather and comfort during light physical activity in mind.