What Is Wine Tasting All About?

On November 12, 2013

If you're new to the world of wine, you may find yourself wondering, "What is a wine tasting all about?" This method of evaluating the quality of wine is popular with wine connoisseurs and industry experts, as well as regular consumers.

What Is Wine Tasting All About?

You've probably noticed that there are significant differences between wines. Even within a particular variety of wine, such as Chardonnay, there can be a lot of variation. For instance, one bottle may taste full-bodied and oaky, while another is light and fruity. These differences are what give wines their own personalities, and they are also the reason for wine tasting.

Who Tastes Wine?

Anyone can be involved in a wine tasting. Some experts taste wines in order to write reviews, buy wines for a store or restaurant, or rate particular vintages, but regular people also get to participate in this fun sensory experience. Many wineries offer tasting tours, which give visitors the chance to try many of their best selling varieties. In recent years, wine tasting parties have also become a popular amusement.

Evaluation Process

Wine tasters, whether they are professionals in the wine industry or regular consumers, use a detailed process to evaluate a bottle of wine:

  • First, the taster examines the wine in the glass. How does light filter through the wine? Does it cling to the edge of the glass?
  • Then, the taster smells the wine and considers how the aroma compares to other varieties. Is it fruity or floral? Does it have a sharp or tangy scent?
  • Finally, the taster takes a sip of the wine and evaluates how it feels and tastes. Does it seem rich? Is it light and crisp?
  • After swallowing the wine, the taster considers the aftertaste. Does the flavor linger? How does it change over time?

Protocol for Tasting Wine

If you'll be participating in a wine tasting, it can be helpful to understand some of the etiquette involved in this activity. Keep the following tips in mind:

  • Pour only a small amount of wine into your glass. You should take enough for one or two sips, leaving the rest for other people.
  • Take your time with each wine. Examine it in the glass, and try to describe its aroma. When you taste it, don't swallow immediately. Hold it in your mouth for a few moments to get a sense of its personality.
  • If there is a spittoon, you might consider spitting out the wine. This is a polite behavior at a wine tasting, since it allows you to taste many wines without worrying about alcohol affecting your judgment.

Wine Tasting Parties

If you love wine, throwing a wine tasting party can be a great way to share the tasting experience with friends. These parties are usually very casual and fun. These tips can help you plan:

  • Be prepared for the question, "What is wine tasting all about?" Explain the tasting process to your guests so they will feel comfortable and have a good time.
  • Have plenty of glassware available. If you don't have enough wine glasses for everyone to get a fresh one for each bottle, keep a pitcher of water handy for rinsing.
  • Serve a variety of cheese and crackers, so guests can see how the wine pairs with different flavors.
  • Give guests scorecards so they can rate the wines according to their preferences.

No Right or Wrong Answer

Whether you're attending a tasting at a winery or throwing a wine tasting party of your own, it's helpful to know what this custom is all about. One of the best things about tasting is that there's no right or wrong answer when it comes to wine evaluation. The process is all about personal preference.