BlogNon-Alcoholic WineHow to Taste Wine Like a Sommelier – 2021 Guide

September 8, 2021by Jonathan Lambrianidis

How to Taste Wine Like a Sommelier.

How to taste wine? It’s a question that is asked so often and unhelpfully, it is a question with no real right or wrong answer! 

Wine is a drink enjoyed by people the world over, and there’s really nothing quite like it. Tasting wine will have you travelling, without leaving the comfort of your home.

But how do you taste it? The good news is you don’t need to be a Sommelier or expert to enjoy tasting wine. 

So take a few minutes and check out the short guide on how to take a different approach to your next glass of wine and taste wine like a sommelier.

Alright, let’s get started, here’s how to taste wine for beginners and seasoned wine lovers alike!

Taste with All Your Senses

Tasting wine involves all your senses so let’s dive into it.

Want to learn more about wine tasting and what to expect from non-alcoholic wine? Check out the non-alcoholic drinks podcast I have put together on the different types of drinks!

What does it look like?

The first step to tasting wine is all about looking at it. Pour the wine into your glass and check it out. 

At this point, you only want to make sure the wine is not murky or cloudy. Keep an eye out for the wine’s opacity, colour and brightness! Wines just pretty like that!

how to taste wine presentation

What does it smell like?

Next up, use your nose and really get into the glass. Here’s where the magic happens. 

Wine is cool because it has so many aromas and scents that come from:

  • fruit and herbal scents; to 
  • Leather;
  • Chocolate; 
  • Potting mix (it’s true!); and
  • Vanilla. 

Like I said, magic! You can spend hours picking up new and exciting aromas in a glass of wine!

learning how to taste wine in a cellar with many barrels

What does it taste like?

Next up it is time to take a sip

Think about the:

  • acidity of the wine (the bouncy, brightness on your taste buds is acidity!);
  • mouthfeel (the weight and thickness of the wine in your mouth are things to look for); and
  • in the case of reds, the wine’s tannicity (tannins are the gritty particles that cause your mouth to feel dry.)

buckets of chilled wine on a bar under glasses on a rack

Do you like it?

So now you’ve enjoyed the glass or might have worked your way through the bottle. 

Now its time to bring it all together and ask yourself a couple of things:

  1. Let’s start with the most important question — did you like the wine? ;
  2. will it improve over time? or is it past its prime? 
  3. What could you pair it with? 
  4. Is this a bottle for everyday drinking or is it a wine best saved for a specific occasion.

how to taste wine explanation with lady pouring wine into a glass

Tips to Taste Wine Like A Pro

  • Tasting is different to drinking. When you’re up for an experience really immerse yourself in the wine. Taste wine; slow down and enjoy it. Given we’re locked down, there’s a time for everything. So when it comes to tasting wine, pace yourself and sip wine slowly.
  • Take notes. Write down every scent and flavour you pick up and share those notes with others to see what everyone else has picked up.  You would be surprised at how this small move increases what you find in your glass!.
  • Visit the wine country. No matter where you live, there’s a good chance someone is making wine close to you. Visiting a wine region near you and tour the cellars (well plan it for when we’re able to get back out and about. Not only is this great fun and super enjoyable weekend activity, but it will help you learn new and exciting things about what goes into getting a wine from vine to glass!

glasses of red on a balcony in the sunset

  • The wine glass matters. Have a pair of nice crystal wine glasses. You’ll be amazed by how much of a difference the right wine glass makes! As a general rule, be prepared to pay the same amount for a wine glass as you would pay for an average bottle of wine. 
  • Taste with other people (in person or on Zoom!). Tasting with others is an awesome way to enjoy wine start a new hobby. We all pick up different scents, so sharing tasting notes is a great way to learn about things you may have missed.
  • Don’t splurge! You don’t need to burn a hole through the floor – or your pocket for that matter to enjoy a wine tasting. Buy a reasonably priced wine. 

Table with bottles of wine on a round table

Let’s Get Tasting!

Tasting wine is great fun and an enjoyable way to spend some time with friends. 

The best advice of all is:

  • don’t worry too much about the dos and don’ts; and 
  • Taste, taste, taste 

That’s all there is to it so check out the wine reviews over here to find a wine you’ll love. Alternatively, learn more about wine tasting courses that are free/cheap online here. 

Remember that, how to taste wine correctly is subjective! You’ll find out what works for you with every bottle, glass and drop of wine. That’s a wrap on the 101 of tasting wine, happy tasting.

by Jonathan Lambrianidis

Non-alcoholic drinks writer and podcaster, beer brewing and winemaking side-kick, lawyer and cyclist. Owner of and the Non-Alcoholic Drinks Podcast.