Shannon Hoyt-

The Barrel Room in Menomonie is a wine bar created to stimulate the palates of those who desire the drink’s bittersweet sensations. Now remains the question, how do you drink it? Yes, there is a proper way to experience the taste of wine, and guiding us through this process is Mary Bygd, co-founder of The Barrel Room.


“The tasting experience really depends on the people who are going to taste,” said Bygd. The greatest challenge of these tastings is how to approach individuals with the most effective tasting experience. It is crucial to guide both wine advocates and novice tasters toward unfamiliar flavors without completely disrupting their palates.


“Before you’re going to taste wine, you want to make sure you are in the right conditions; you’re in the right environment. You should really be sitting down and relaxing,” added Bygd. “The other two important characteristics about wine tasting are the proper temperature of the wine and the appropriate stemware.”


White wine is frequently served chilled, while red wines are typically left at room temperature. Stemware, or wine glasses, can influence the way you drink and taste wine, as Mary Bygd can attest to, based on her husband’s belief in stemware and her own experience supporting the tasting conditions.


Once you have met the needs for proper preparation, the next steps follow a similar ‘S’ sound. These are called the Five S’s of Wine Tasting: see, swirl, smell, sip and swallow.

First, you must see the wine. Ask yourself these questions: What color is the wine? Is it smooth, or is it milky? Second, you must swirl the wine with the proper stemware. Third, Bygd says, “you stick your nose right in the glass and smell it. You should be able to smell some basic characteristics of that wine.” Fourth, take a sip. Not a gulp, but a sip, and chew the wine. Feel the sensations of flavor. Finally, swallow.


Once you have followed the Five S’s of Wine Tasting, you have properly tasted.


Mary and her husband Rick, who is the other co-founder of The Barrel Room, are resources for proper wine education and recommendations, while allowing customers to enjoy a glass of wine and learn what other flavors they’d like.


Those participating in wine tastings should be of legal age and should always drink responsibly.

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