What's the number of wines a critic can taste per day before they succumb to palate fatigue or just lack of enough hours in the day to carefully evaluate each sample placed in front of them? 25? 50? 100+? Fred Swan, writing about this issue in NorCal Wine, queried some prominent personalities to get their answer. Here's what they had to say when tasting wines at home or the office, rather than for duties as a judge in a competition or a tasting panel where the number can be much higher:
Jon Bonné, San Francisco Chronicle: 20-25 wines total in four or five flights.
Lisa Perotti-Brown, Wine Advocate: 20-24 wines total in two flights
Joe Czerwinski, Wine Enthusiast: 30 wines total (rarely more than that)
Virginie Boone, Wine Enthusiast: 10-15 wines (though now covering Sonoma and Napa, will increase to 20)
And what about Swan? "I don’t usually do more than 24 wines in a day myself."
These numbers also don't take into account attending industry tastings, where the sky is the limit on the number of wines you can try in one day.
What is your threshold for tasting wines in a day before you cry "Uncle!"? And what strategies do you use to keep your palate fresh so the last wine gets the same consideration as the first?