Welcome to your introduction to wine tasting! There’s a large world of wine tasting full of people ranging anywhere from a novice to an expert in their knowledge of everything grape. While to a beginner wine tasting may seem intimidating, we’re here to assure you that it’s not. Wine tasting is broken down into three parts: color, smell, and taste. You don’t just drink wine, you experience it! 

Step 1 of Wine Tasting: Evaluating by Sight

  • First, look straight down into the glass, then hold the glass to the light, and finally, give it a tilt, so the wine rolls toward its edges. This will allow you to see the wine’s complete color range, not just the dark center.
  • Tilt the glass and look through the wine toward the table to measure clarity. You should be able to read through the wine.
  • Looking down, you get a sense of the depth of color, which gives a clue to the density and saturation of the wine.
  • A murky wine might be a wine with chemical or fermentation problems.

Step 2: Evaluating by Smell

  • Take in the aroma, swirl the wine around in the glass to release the aromas then put your nose to it.
  • You are seeking out aromas, including berries, oak and citrus.
  • Young white wines and young sparkling wines may have a scent very reminiscent of beer. This is from the yeast.
  • Floral aromas are particularly common in cool climate white wines like Riesling and gew├╝rztraminer.
  • Some dessert wines smell strongly of honey. Young white wines and young sparkling wines may have a scent very reminiscent of beer. This is from the yeast.
  • Older wines have more complex, less fruity aromas.
  • Scents of mushroom, damp earth, leather, and rock can exist in many red wines.

Step 3: Evaluating by Taste

  • The final step is to take a sip of your wine. Take in air as the wine sits in your mouth.
  • You will encounter a wide range of fruit, flower, herbs, mineral, barrel, and other flavors. Use your taste buds to determine if the wine is balanced, harmonious, complex, evolved, and complete.

If you’re nervous you won’t remember the steps to take before you take your first delicious sips, we’ve put all of this information in a downloadable PDF that you’ll be able to print and take along with you.