group of people tossing wine glass

Whether you are an aspiring wino or just want to learn a new skill, wine tasting is a great activity to do with friends and family.  Not only do you get to enjoy the wine, but you’ll also be able to learn a whole new appreciation by tasting it correctly.

And remember- drink in moderation and only if you are over the legal drinking age!



The Right Glass

A big detail that is often overlooked when drinking wine is choosing the right glass.  If you want to be a true expert, there are over 20 types of glasses that you will need!  For the purpose of this article, we will stick to the 3 basic glasses every aspiring wino should have.

Red wine is best poured into a large glass.   The bowl of the glass should be round and full, with a large opening at the top.  Red wine needs a large contact area with air to let the complex aromas settle and maximize flavor.  Also, remember to serve red wine at room temperature or just below!

White wine glasses should have a U- shape bowl and will look much narrower compared to the red wine glass.  This shape allows the wine to stay cold for longer because white wine is usually served cold.  Although there are special glasses just for Rose Wines, we recommend using a white wine glass if you want to stick to the basics.

Sparkling wine or champagne should be drunk out of a narrow glass or champagne flute.  The shape of the glass will keep the bubble/ fizzy texture and capture the flavors to the fullest.

woman drinking glass of wine

More than Just Taste

If you have ever enjoyed a glass of wine with a wine connoisseur (self-proclaimed or professional), you have noticed some rather odd things happening before, during, and after they taste their wine.    This is because there is a lot more to enjoy than just the flavor of the wine.

First: See the Wine

The color of the wine can determine a lot more than just the type of wine it is.  Hold up the filled glass against a white background to let the colors truly shine through.  Take notice if the wine is bright or dark, clear or cloudy.  Bright wine is light-bodied, whereas, dark wine is full-bodied.  Clear wine indicates that the wine is good, and cloudy wine should best be avoided.

Second: Swirl

This step is extremely important with recently opened bottles.  The swirling process allows oxygen to mix with the wine.  This is usually referred to as “opening up”.  By doing this, the wine starts breaking down (in a good way), and more flavors become exposed.

There are a lot of different ways to swirl wine, but we like the classic foolproof technique.  Place your wine glass (with a pour of wine inside) on a flat hard surface.  Gently, hold the base of the stem with your thumb and pointer finger while resting the rest of your hand on the base of the glass.  Firmly, make small circles with the base of the glass on the table.  Swirl for 5-10 seconds.

Third: Smell

This step is fun because you really get to use your imagination.  Place your nose into the glass and close your eyes.  Take a deep breath, breathing in through your nose.  Hold for a few seconds and breathe out through your mouth (outside the glass).  Notice whatever scents you smell.  They could be fruits, spices, types of wood, etc.  Don’t be concerned if others with you smell different things. Scents are triggered by your memory, so not everyone will notice the same scents.

Finally: Taste

The step you’ve been waiting for.  Take a large sip and hold the wine in your mouth for up to 5 seconds.  This will allow the wine to hit all the parts of the tongue, so you notice all the tastes that are present in the wine.  After tasting, notice all the texture, flavors, and weight of the wine.


Take your next vacation at one of our top wine destinations to learn more from the experts!

61 Replies to “Wine Tasting 101

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