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by Carlo Bavagnoli

It’s the time of year when wine enthusiasts have opportunities to expand their horizons without leaving the state by attending various wine-tasting events. Which makes it an ideal time to review wine-tasting navigation — that is, how to deal with an overwhelming maze of wines.

Don’t forget to take a pen. Take notes to help you remember wines that you found interesting or a good value. There is no need for elaborate details; one can scribble notes on the list of wines printed in the program. And since you’re likely the only one who will look back on your notes, a smiley face, dollar sign or simple check mark works fine.

Spit like you mean it. If you take any words of advice on exploring hundreds of wines at one event, it would be to spit, and spit often. Your goal is to taste, not drink every wine. Spitting is part of the tasting process and not a social faux pas, so no need to be intimidated as you push your way to the spit bucket.

Don’t forget tasting basics. Smell the wine for certain aromas by holding the glass by the stem and placing your nose deep into the bowl of the glass. Swirl the wine around in your mouth to look for light versus heavy body, acid, sweetness and the tastes you notice.

Stay organized. Walking into an event and seeing numerous wines lining the tables can be intimidating. Organize by countries, wine producing regions or grape varieties. This allows you to taste and compare wines with similar characteristics.

If you are looking to add wine-tasting events to your calendar, here are some tastings scheduled in Arkansas:

  • Corks and Forks: Eating Well, Doing Good, Thursday; benefits Potluck Food Rescue; for details or tickets call (501) 371-0303.
  • The Festival of Wines, 6 to 9 p.m. Oct. 7; benefits the American Heart Association; for details or tickets call (501) 379-1198.
  • 47th annual Wiederkehr Village Weinfest, Oct. 9; for details call (479) 468-9463.
  • Uncorked — Mad Scientist Mash at the Museum of Discovery, Oct. 21; for details or tickets call (501) 396-7050.