What to Wear When You Go Wine Tasting

by JJ Buckley Fine Wines

Glass of red wine on a railing overlooking a vineyard

From happy hours with colleagues to a bachelor or bachelorette party, from a romantic getaway to an afternoon with friends, wine tasting calls oenophiles to enjoy good wine and add new favorites to a collection. What to wear wine tasting might depend somewhat on your company and the reason for gathering, but a few wardrobe staples will allow you to dress your best for the vineyard or cellar. As you prepare for your next day or evening of exploration, grab your wine log and these essentials for the perfect excursion.

The Best Wine Tasting Clothes

Dressing for wine tasting is a cross between knowing the itinerary and planning for a turn of events. Whether or not you’re attending an event, plan on dressing to be photographed. After all, wine country makes an irresistible backdrop both for Instagram and a living room canvas alike. Additionally, dressing well will allow you to focus on the most important part of wine tasting: discovering and drinking terrific wine.

Your wine tasting wardrobe should consist of clothes that are comfortable, fashionable, chic, and versatile. An ideal outfit will work for seated tasting as well as outdoor tours and will transition seamlessly for a change of plans or an addendum to the evening. You never know where the day—or night—might lead, so from outerwear to accessories, consider the following as you pack and dress:

  • Layers: Don’t let a change of temperature dictate your comfort. A simple sweater or jacket that can fit in a purse or hang off your chair will allow you to transition from warm to cool and back again and can dress up an outfit if you continue to a more formal tasting or a dinner reservation.
  • Sun protection: Sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat will help you beat the heat at the peak of the day and keep your wine tasting enjoyable even as temperatures rise.
  • A scarf: Cashmere or wool in the fall or winter will provide extra warmth, especially in drafty cellars, and a pashmina or silk scarf in the spring or summer can protect against gusts of wind at outdoor wine tastings.
  • Bug spray: If you plan to spend any time outdoors, bug repellant is a simple necessity that can come in handy if you sip by the water or arrive after a rain shower.
  • Saline drops for contacts: Both the outdoors and wine cellars can dry out your eyes, especially at tastings that take several hours.
  • Skip the perfume and cologne: Wine tasting is all about the aroma of the pour, not your personal fragrance. Avoid perfume or cologne to maximize your tasting as well as the others around you.
  • A hands-free bag: This could be a crossbody purse or a lightweight and chic backpack, but a bag to hold essentials will help you keep your hands on your glass instead of your items.
  • Rainy day wear: An all-out poncho might not be necessary, but a compact umbrella that can fit in a small bag will bring you peace of mind for sudden precipitation. And since wine tasting is all about eliminating distractions and focusing on what is right in front of you, consider the accessory an essential.

Wine Tasting Outfits

Women's Wine Tasting Outfits

Ladies, leave the heels at home. Depending on the season, dressy sandals, boots, or flats will allow you to traverse a vineyard without a grimace. If you’d like to add height, consider wedges instead of a single heel that can sink into grass or soil.

It’s likely that any outdoor wine tasting will have some level of activity, so in addition to comfortable shoes, wear loose, flowy, and breathable fabric that will look dressy while allowing you to relax. Dark colors are ideal as they can hide any spills. Layer with a sweater for cooler weather or a more formal tasting, and mind your accessories: a watch can remain contained while a bangle might knock into the Chardonnay with a simple gesture. Consider foregoing wrist jewelry altogether and opting for a necklace or, for a bachelorette do or other more festive occasion, hair or face glitter to add glam away from your hands.

If you choose to wear lipstick, use a matte style along with a primer and lip liner that can help keep the color on your lips and off your glass

Men’s Wine Tasting Outfits

Unless you plan to visit a particular vineyard or tasting room with a formal dress code, a tie is usually unnecessary. Instead, wear dress jeans or dark slacks with a collared shirt and carry a jacket to dress up if necessary. Rather than tennis shoes, select nice casual shoes that are comfortable enough for walking, such as boat shoes or loafers.

What Not to Wear When Wine Tasting

While it’s important to feel comfortable and confident throughout the day, wine tasting suggests some decorum and a certain level of practicality. Avoid the following clothing items and accessories to make the most of your experience:

  • Athletic attire
  • White clothes that can show spills or stains
  • Shoes that aren’t made for walking
  • Cutoff shirts or shorts
  • Graphic T-shirts

After Wine Tasting

Whether you’re celebrating a special occasion or unwinding at the end of the week, wine tasting is a fun way to expand your wine repertoire. However, just because you leave the winery doesn’t mean the experience is over. If you loved the aroma of a certain Cabernet or want to find more Sonoma Valley blends with similar qualities to one you just tasted, peruse the selection at JJ Buckley Fine Wines. In addition to finding other wines from the region, you can discover more incredible wines from around the world by varietal, color and type, rating, and even vintage.

For more personalized assistance in adding to your wine collection, JJ Buckley also offers a consultancy service that can connect you to over 3,500 fine wines to augment your collection. The free service can guide you through the extensive online database or provide personal recommendations based on your preferences with access to wines that build on what you love from New World wine country. Your palate transcends regions and varietals, after all, and your wine cellar should reflect that.