Tasting wine like a pro

This is how to get the most enjoyment out of your next bottle of wine, whether you’re a seasoned collector or completely new to the world of wine.

What is the most crucial element in conducting a professional wine taste? Never put your pinky out, take a drink, and then start waxing lyrical about all the esoteric subtleties you sense in the liquor. Seriously. You’ll come out as pretentious and foolish, which is much worse. Furthermore, the vast majority of sommeliers and wine professionals no longer operate with the same old-school reputation for snobbishness and judgement.

Now that we can move forward without worrying about our collective pretences or pinkie fingers, the question still stands: How do you taste wine like a pro? Why would you want to, too? After all, most people don’t follow a formalised regimen while consuming most other alcoholic beverages.

The solution is rather straightforward: Because wine contains such a vast variety of flavour and scent constituents, you want to take all reasonable steps to maximise your awareness of them. And you guessed it, that entails sniffing, spinning, and other unpleasant behaviours.

How to Taste Wine | Wine Guide | Virgin Wines
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How does it go

This is how it goes. You should swirl the wine in your glass once it has been poured, making small circles with the base to produce a miniature wine vortex in the bowl. This achieves two key goals. First, it infuses the wine with oxygen, which will help it open up and allow it to express itself more fully.

Consider it the equivalent of stretching before a marathon in wine. Although it isn’t required, doing it makes the experience much more enjoyable. The second advantage is expanding the surface area from which your nose may detect aromas by spreading a thin layer of wine over the interior of the bowl. Thanks to the olfactory bulb, the bulk of what we taste is actually a result of what we smell, therefore whatever we can do to enhance fragrance is beneficial.

Wine Tasting Guide: The Structure of Wine | Bring a Bottle

It’s time to slurp once you’ve given the wine a few short, sharp sniffs and deep inhales. Here, technique is crucial: You don’t want to swish Listerine around your mouth in the manner of the man in the old commercial. In addition to looking absurd, this will overpower your tongue with acid, tannin, and other flavours. Instead, take a little sip, purse your lips as if you were going to whistle, and blow air over the wine on your tongue so that it flutters between your soft palate and your tongue. This will make the wine’s flavour layers even more distinct, enabling you to determine whether it has any flaws.


Spitting is the last phase, which is typically only done by professionals who are comparing many wines side by side. Sometimes I start tasting before nine in the morning, and if I didn’t spit by midday, I’d be a blubbering disaster. Spitting, in other words, is essential to my ability to work beyond midday as well as to succeed professionally. However, there’s really no need to spit if you’re sampling a respectable number of wines and you have nowhere to go afterward.


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