The Manual - How to use a spitoon

You need to sip a decent amount of wine - half a mouthful. Not only because you want to taste the wine properly, but because you want to spit a decent, forceful jet, not a pathetic dribble.

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When you have immersed your palate and made your judgement, expel the air that you drew into your mouth after the wine (in order for the oxygen to bring out its intensity and flavour).

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Pucker your mouth as if playing the trumpet and - don't be shy - squirt the wine through the resulting small hole in a single majestic jet using your cheek muscles. Your tongue should be resting on your bottom teeth. Aim for the middle of the spittoon. You can add some sand or sawdust to avoid splash-back.

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Practise, using a sink or the bath, keeping your head still and the movement continuous. I can spit into a small glass from two metres away and never spill a drop - all thanks to repetition. Beginners should opt for a spittoon with a shape more like a vase than a goldfish bowl. And wear dark clothes.

Words by Nick Scott and JeanMarc Sauboua, winemaker. www.directwines.co.uk

Illustrations by Nick Hardcastle