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Charity Wine AuctionsIt’s charity fundraiser season, the time of year when wine enthusiasts have opportunities to match their passion for wine with helping their community.

Each year I find a few new pointers to add to our experience.

To spit or not to spit?

If you take any words of advice about events that explore hundreds of wines at one time, it would be to spit and spit often. Professional wine tasters discovered long ago that if you swallow every wine, by the time you reach sample No. 10 or so, you no longer have a professional opinion. Their discovery has made it very acceptable for anyone to spit.

Swallowing isn’t necessary to taste the wine fully. If you leave the wine in your mouth for eight to 10 seconds, you will taste the wine without the effects of the alcohol. Your goal for the large event is a tasting opportunity, not drinking everything in sight.

Spitting is part of the tasting process and not a social faux pas, so no need to be intimidated as you push your way through to the bucket.

Food and wine bliss

Many events will include the exploration of food and wine, either over a sit-down dinner or a casual walkaround. Take full advantage of this exploration of paradise.

Consider what it would take for you to re-create some of these tasting situations — hundreds of dollars worth of wines, several personal executive chefs and, more importantly, the cleanup. Savor the chance to make your own conclusions about wine and food pairings.

Not just another party

From my years of supporting and attending charity wine events, I know many times we forget sponsors behind the scenes supplying these tasting opportunities to our community. Each event isn’t just a few cases of wine, beer and food trays dropped off, but months of detailed planning by the distributors, retailers, restaurants, chefs and volunteers.

Take a moment to thank them for giving the community a tasting bonanza each year.

If you are looking to add tasting opportunities to your calendar, here are a few events:

  • Wildwood Wine and Food Festival, Friday, Wildwood Reserve Dinner, Sept. 28, for tickets call (501) 821-7275.
  • Arkansas Hospitality Association Culinary Classic, Tuesday, for more information call (501) 376-2323.
  • Taste of the Town, Sept. 27, proceeds support North Little Rock Chamber of Commerce educational programs, for more information call (501) 372-5959.
  • The Festival of Wines, Oct. 4, benefiting the American Heart Association, for tickets call (501) 379-1198.
  • Links and Drinks, Sept. 27, benefiting Potluck, a food rescue group, for tickets call (501) 371-0303.
  • Uncorked — The Mad Scientist Mash at the Museum of Discovery, Oct. 18, for tickets call (501) 396-7050.