How to perfect the art of wine tasting

Use these tips to appreciate your wine tasting experience


It can be loads of fun to attend a wine tasting event but many decline due to fear.  More specifically, the fear of not knowing what to do or what to expect.  Here are a few things you can remember to take the mystery out of wine tasting.


At such an event, you will notice that women are served before the men (and here we thought that chivalry was dead –lol-)  Anyhow, when handed your glass of wine, always handle it by the stem; this will keep the wine from being heated by your body temperature.  Make use of the bottled water handed out at most wine tasting events to cleanse your mouth and taste buds of the previous glass of wine you tasted.  This will ensure your sense of taste remains sharp and you are able to fully appreciate each glass of wine.  Oh and did we mention snacks? Often cheese and crackers will be the companion of choice because of its complimentary qualities to the wine.


If you didn’t know why glasses are always clear and served on white tablecloths at wine tastings, it is to properly examine the color of the wine.  Much of the wine’s secrets are revealed by its rich color.  More experienced wine tasters will make use of the “swirl”.  The reason why they do this is because it not only makes you look sophisticated and cool, but it actually releases more of the wine’s flavor.  Keep in mind that many bottles of wine has been aging for long periods of time, sometimes even years.  So the little swirl will bring it back to life and allow you to fully enjoy the  full bodied taste.


Here are a few key steps to remember

  • Handle your glass by the stem
  • Take a good look at the wine, see the color
  • Smell the wine
  • Swirl it around in the glass
  • Taste (take a sip, swish it around your mouth for a few seconds)


You will get a lot more from the wine by smelling its intriguing aroma first. It has been shown that 74 % of our taste is due to our sense of smell, so give the event a skip if your smell is affected due to flu or another illness. Experienced wine tasters will tell you that wine tasting has more to do with smell, than actually experiencing it on your taste buds.  Allow a few moments to think about the smell.  Can you guess some of the flavors?  After a few seconds, take a sip and see if your initial identification correlates with the aftertaste.  Remember you have thousands and thousands of taste buds.  So allow the wine to dance around on your tongue for a while to take in the full flavor.  Think about what your taste buds are discovering, is it fruity? cinnamon? pepper? woody?  The aftertaste that comes from swallowing the wine will give you more of an idea as to the type and flavor of the specific wine.


So wine tasting isn’t just sipping, swishing and swallowing.  It is indeed an art.  With more exposure to such events or even practice at home, you will be able to refine this art by distinguishing between different fine wines’ unique flavors.


Interesting facts: red wines get better with age, while white wines get stale. White wines aren’t white; it is more yellow, green or brown.  Red wine varies from pale red to dark brown.


Author: Shaun De Kock

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