How to taste wine like an expert

More Wine Basics:

For more wine basics, check these helpful features on

Wine Questionary. Much like a traditional encyclopedia but hyperlinked and interactive.
Wine Lovers’ Lexicon. A combination wine-tasting dictionary and wine-pronouncing glossary featuring more than 500 wine-related words and phrases, with pronunciations and sound files.
Wine Label Decoder. Straightforward explanations of label language, keyed to pictures of labels from five countries.
Wine Tasting Toolbox. A variety of articles, reference materials and tasting forms.
WineLovers Discussion Group. An interactive, international online forum where you can learn wine-tasting in a friendly, non-threatening environment.

Want to learn how to taste wine as the experts do?

Eyeballing wine, swirling and sniffing and swishing … it may look complicated or even snobbish, but the traditional wine-tasting technique is actually based on common sense. It’s simply a way to pause for a moment, to stop and think, and to pay attention to the ways that wine impacts on all your senses, from sight and scent to taste, aftertaste, and the overall impression that the wine leaves behind after you’ve finished.

This quick online wine tasting course, one of the most popular wine-related articles on the Web since we first published it here in 1993, is a much evolved and updated version of a series of articles that I wrote in the late 1980s in The Louisville Courier-Journal, assembled and updated to provide a general overview of wine tasting and wine appreciation.

Divided into 13 easily digested chapters, the course features an introduction to tasting wine, including an appreciation of its sight, smell and taste; a look at the oddities of wine vocabulary; a discussion of “blind” tasting as the most effective way to develop your palate; quick overviews of the wines of various countries and sparkling wines; and a presentation of the University of California/Davis “Aroma Wheel,” an easy way to sort out the variety of aromas and flavors found in wine.

Now grab a corkscrew and a bottle, get something good in your glass, and jump right in. You can click to any chapter from the list below, or start at the beginning and continue through the complete course by clicking Next Chapter at the end of each page. If you have further questions, drop us a note!.

Table of Contents:

Introduction: Looking at Wine
Getting Your Nose Into Wine
Taste: More Than Just Swallowing
Wine Vocabulary – All Those Funny Words
Learning to Taste by Closing Our Eyes
Postgraduate “Blind” Tasting
Our Vinous Debt to France
Wine and Fun from Italy
Germany: Hard Words, Easy Wine
Spain: A Delicious Secret
The USA: Fine Wine from the Melting Pot
Sparkling Wine: The Spirit of Festivity
Tasting on the “Wheel”

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