How to Get Started with Wine Tasting: Even if it’s Your First Time

How to Get Started with Wine Tasting: Even if it’s Your First Time

Interested in wine tasting but don’t know much about it? Are you a seasoned wine drinker, but aren’t savvy enough to talk it up? No matter where you’re at, this guide to learning how to taste and assess a glass of wine will get you started. Soon, you’ll be able to talk about wine with the pros  –  without fear of embarrassment.

Here’s what you need to know.

Set the stage for wine tasting

You’ll need to concentrate to learn how to taste wine  –  especially if you’re just starting out.

For your first wine-tasting session, don’t attempt to do tastings in a crowded or busy area.

In a restaurant or at home where cooking is taking place, the odors from the food will offset the smell of the wine.

Even strong perfume or odors from pets will detract from the process.

You’ll also need to set the proper environment by considering the tools.

Your glasses should be hyper clean  –  no detergent residue or dirt. The wrong-shaped glass or a wine cup that’s too small will also affect the tasting.

Wine Folly has created a graphic that quickly shows the right type of glass to use depending on the type of wines you’re tasting.


wine tasting using the proper wine glass

Image Source:

Step 1: The visual glance

Once you’ve “neutralized” the tasting conditions, you’ll want to use your eyes to examine the wine.

Your glass should be roughly one-third full of wine.

Then, look at the wine by holding the glass at several angles:

  • Looking down at it.
  • Holding it up to the light.
  • Tilted, so you move the wine closer to the glass’s edges.

During these movements, you’re looking at the wine’s depth of color, which will help you evaluate how dense and saturated the wine is.

For example, a Syrah will be deeply saturated and darker in color, whereas a Pinot Noir will be lighter and less saturated.

Step 2: The smell

It’s not yet time to taste the wine.

After you visually assess the wine, you can smell it.

Take a good whiff of the wine, by swirling it around in the glass.

But don’t shove your nose inside the glass; rather, place your nose over the top of the glass and let the aroma waft upwards.

Sniff several times, quickly and briefly. Then, set the glass down and take it in.

You’ll be able to smell fruity, flowers, herbs, leaves, vegetables, spices and more, and eventually, learn how to identify them all when you’re wine tasting.

Step 3: Taste

Yes, you can now take a sip!

But before you do, here’s what you need to know:

  • The preparation you laid in the sniffing phase has prepared you for tasting.
  • Take in small amounts of wine  –  not gulps.
  • Use a sucking motion to drink the wine (it takes practice). But it’s well worth learning, because the aeration involved in sucking will better circulate the wine in your mouth.

Enjoy the sights, smells and tastes of the wines!

The HideAway Country Inn is honored to offer an 2016 Award of Excellence wine cellar. An honored that’s been bestowed upon The HideAway Inn for the fifth time!

With over 190 varieties of wine to enjoy, you can taste wine into the wee hours of the morning. Or schedule a Wine Snob education class with our sommelier to learn even more about tasting wine. Just give us a call today!


Share This Story, Choose Your Platform!