Tips For Wine Tasting

Wine Tasting Tips

Whether you are a wine enthusiast or new to the wine world, it is always good to have a few helpful tricks up your sleeve. Show off your skills to your friends with these simple, easy-to-learn tips for wine tasting.

Four Wine Tasting Steps

When wine tasting, you want to engage your senses to truly taste and evaluate a glass of wine. Here are the basics of each step to get you started.


The first step is to take note of the appearance of the wine. The colour and opacity can help you to identify if it is ageing, the grape varietal, its thickness, and if there are bubbles present.

Things to note:

  • The colour
  • The intensity of the colour
  • The brightness or darkness
  • Does the wine cling to the glass?


Before you smell, give the wine a swirl to mix the wine with the oxygen. This will open it up and release the bouquet. Then, put your nose in the glass and breathe in gently. Smelling the wine allows you to identify the aromas. This is through orthonasal olfaction, AKA breathing in directly through your nose.

Things to note:

  • Is it fruity?
  • Is it floral?
  • Are there spices present (e.g., cinnamon or vanilla)?
  • Is it nutty?
  • Are there notes of meat or vegetables?

Smelling the wine can also help you to identify any flaws. If there is a hint of vinegar, it may mean that the bottle has been left open for too long. Likewise, if it smells mouldy, your wine may be corked.


When you take a sip of the wine, hold it in your mouth and swirl it around. While the wine is in your mouth, try to breath in with the back of your nose. This is referred to as retronasal olfaction. Since your nose is connected to the back of your mouth, breathing it in with the back of your nose will give you a stronger taste of the flavours. This will help you to assess if it is bitter, sweet, salty or acidic while giving you the physical feel in your mouth from the tannins and alcohol.

Things to note:

  • Warmth
  • Acidity
  • Body
  • Sweetness
  • Tannins – does it leave your mouth feeling dry?

Once you’ve tasted the wine, you can either spit or swallow. Depending on where this wine tasting is taking place, see what everyone else is doing. If you’re in a restaurant, I would recommend the latter. However it is normal to spit it out at a wine tasting or tour to avoid getting too drunk too quickly!


Before taking your next sip, think about how you felt at each step. Did it go down easily? How strong were the flavours. Did it taste balanced? And most importantly, do you want to drink more?

Keep track of your notes

Did you know that you can use cellartags to write down your thoughts and opinions on a wine, including a personal rating. This helps you keep track of the wines you enjoyed making sure you don’t forget them!

And that’s it. You can use these basic wine tasting tips the next time you’re drinking wine or you’re on a wine tasting tour. Let us know if you have any other tips for wine tasting!

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