What's with all the spitting at wine tastings?

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Hello there! I'm Dr. Vinifera, but you can call me Vinny. Ask me your toughest wine questions, from the fine points of etiquette to the science of winemaking. And don't worry, I'm no wine snob—you can also ask me those "dumb questions" you're too embarrased to ask your wine geek friends! I hope you find my answers educational, empowering and even amusing. And don't forget to check out my most asked questions and my full archives for all my Q&A classics.

Dear Dr. Vinny,

This is not a tough question. I need to know the name of the container, usually on winery counters, that you pour excess wine (unwanted) into following a tasting.

—Jackie, Rodeo, Calif.

Dear Jackie,

It's called a spit bucket, or dump bucket, but some call it a spittoon. While you're correct that it's used to dump leftover wine, it's also there for you to spit.

A public service announcement: Dr. Vinny endorses spitting wine. I know that spitting—anything—in public might seem rude (not to mention a waste of good wine). However, spitting ensures that your judgment isn't impaired, your wine evaluations remain lucid, and makes operating everything from heavy equipment to a wine glass all the safer. Make sure you leave the wine in your mouth for about 10 seconds before spitting, and you'll be able to appreciate it just fine. You should still probably resist the urge to practice target or long-distance spitting.

—Dr. Vinny

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