What is the proper way to taste wine?

three wine glasses

Drinking wine is a delicate process that should involve all five senses. When you taste wine, things such as environment, temperature, and being able to discern flavor are all important factors. Here are some considerations that will not only help you enjoy wine to the fullest but also put you on your way to evaluating wine like an expert.

Setting the Stage for Proper Tasting Conditions

When and where you drink wine can really affect your enjoyment as a whole. For example, being in a noisy room filled with competing aromas can put a damper on the experience. The temperature of your wine will also go a long way in making a good impression. If served too cold or too hot the flavor gets held back from being its best. Overall, wine is best enjoyed in a quiet neutral environment that has fresh air.

Examine the Wine

Once you’ve neutralized the tasting conditions you can start evaluating the wine. If you view the wine through the side of the glass and it is murky instead of clear then it is possible the wine has fermentation problems or it could also be that the wine just has sediment from being shaken. Next, you should swirl the wine. If tears form and run down the sides of the wine glass then it means there is a higher glycerin content. This indicates that the wine is more mouth-filling and dense than those that do not.

When looking at the glass, be certain to hold facing down and away from you. For consistency, you should also use a white surface behind the wine when tasting. – JT Schwartz, Shady Creek Winery

Smell the Wine

There’s a lot to be learned about wine through a simple inhale so it’s important to know what the different aromas mean. There are also potentially hundreds of aromas that come from one single glass of wine, so forget about finding them all and focus on which scents are most prominent for you. First, you should look for any scents that seem off. If the wine smells musty or like vinegar, then it has likely gone bad. You should also look for fruit aromas. Wine is made from grapes so the smell of fresh fruit will likely be present unless the wine is heavily sweetened or frigid.

Smell the wine by moving your nose closer and further away from the brim of the glass. Different aromas are can be present at different levels. – JT Schwartz, Shady Creek Winery

Drink, Taste, and Enjoy

Once you’ve had fun examining and smelling the wine it’s time to finally begin drinking. Due to the complexity of the flavor, you should avoid large drinks or gulping. To properly taste wine, take little sips and let the liquid circulate and aerate through your mouth. Let it dance around so you can discover the variety of tastes that are offered by one singular drink.

Wine is fantastic by itself, but usually better paired with food! Pairing information is readily available online and can be a great way to experience new wines. – JT Schwartz, Shady Creek Winery

Now that you have the steps down, experiment with different wines and discover which ones you like best. Take note of the different characteristics as you taste wine and learn how you can best enjoy your wine!

Wine, Food, Fun in a great atmosphere!

Shady Creek Winery is located just a mile south of the lakeshore. Our wines are produced from both local grapes as well as those from the west coast, allowing Shady Creek to have not just a regional wine list but one that boasts more than a half dozen big reds from west coast fruit. Come have dinner with us or order our wines online.


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