Wine Tasting is Drinking Mindfully
How is a tasting event like meditation practice?
First, you must slow down and get yourself into the present moment. Forget how long it took to drive to the event. Forget the fight you had with your spouse. You’re here now. Sitting with friends in a comfortable space, opening to the experience. You take a deep breath and slow down a little bit more.
Then you look carefully at the liquid in the glass in front of you. You notice that it’s clear and you think about clarity for a moment. Are there cork bits floating on the surface or sediment in the glass? How would you describe the colour of the wine: ruby or garnet? Pale straw or gold? You lift the glass and deeply inhale. Sommeliers encourage tasters to really stick their nose into the glass to receive all the aromas. More deep breathing. Unlike meditation, you’re thinking - about the aromas. What specific aromas do you smell? Peaches? Black cherry? Grapefruit? Fresh cut grass?
You note those and then you take a sip, slurping some oxygen into your mouth. Yes, slurping. Oxygen opens the wine, releasing even more flavours. (Slurping may take some practice and you may want to practice in private.) You let that liquid sit in your mouth for a moment, coating your taste buds. Again, you think: is that blackberry I’m tasting? Or red raspberry? Maybe some toasty almond?
Finally, you swallow. This time you note how long the flavours stay with you. You pay full attention to each step: the looking, the smelling, the sipping and the swallowing. Then you sit – just like you’re sitting on your cushion when you meditate and empty your mind. You quietly appreciate your senses, the grape, the winemaker who created the wine, the people who picked the grapes and your friends who are sharing this moment with you. Gratitude for it all.