Stay Clear of the Spittoon

Tasting wine for a living sounds like a dream job, right? Wine writer Victoria Moore shares some of the occupational hazards.

Moore writes in the UK newspaper The Guardian that there are times when she “might need to swirl, spit and make a judgment on as many as 460 wines in a week.”

At this rate, there’s a serious risk of getting smashed while tasting, so she recommends eating a big breakfast. And, she always wears black for fear of wine spills, or worse, getting spat on:

This precaution is necessary not just because a glass repeatedly filled and emptied of red wine inevitably becomes sticky and drippy, or because when you get tired it’s not unusual to begin to dribble down your own top. A grave danger is posed by other tasters; more than once my body has intercepted a gargled plume of red wine as it left someone’s mouth en route for a sawdust-filled bin. Warning to men wearing beige slacks: my own aim isn’t too great either, so don’t think you’re safe loitering by the spittoons.

According to Moore, one of the more serious effects of swirling and spitting so much wine is the damage it does to one’s teeth—from leaving stains to destroying precious enamel: “This also explains why wine tasters, despite having one of the most envied jobs in existence, rarely smile.”