Wine Tasting 101

Wine Tasting 101

Even if you can't be at your favorite winery IRL, you can still put together a fun and functional wine tasting from home (pants are optional). Because at the of the day, all you really need to go wine tasting is a nose, a tongue, and maybe a bottle opener.

1) Choose Your Wines

The most important part of a wine tasting? The wine part! You can choose a flight – typically 4 to 6 different wines — based on region, type of wines, or honestly whatever you have on hand! 


2) Arrange and Pour

Go ahead and grab some glassware, even if it’s just a few mason jars (we're OK with that). Begin by pouring yourself a little bit of each wine to start (you can get into the rest of the bottle later). A general rule of thumb is to start with dry and light, move towards bold and heavy, and finish with sweet. 

3) Swirl and Sniff

Give your glass a swirl: We like to set our glass down on the table while we do this so that it doesn't splash all over the place. Swirling the wine exposes it to oxygen and releases all of those yummy aromatics (smells) that waft out of the top of the glass. 

Take three quick sniffs and continue swirling in between to bring out more of the aromas.  Hopefully, you got a good whiff there, so take a moment to contemplate what's going on in there.

Some questions to consider:

  • What does this wine smell like? 
  • Is it earthy like fresh soil, ground coffee, or dark chocolate? 
  • Is it fruity like a raspberry, a cherry, an apple, or a peach? 
  • Are the aromas pretty straight forward (smells like a pineapple) or is there a lot going on (smells like a fruit salad)? 
  • Does the way the wine smells remind you of anything? 
  • If the wine were a song, what would it be?

Here's an example:

  • If our Diva Sangiovese were a song, it would be Hot Stuff by Donna Summer. Energetic, easy to love, and fun every time. It has a savory taste, a little bit oaky, and would go perfect with pasta puttanesca with a healthy topping of shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.

Take a moment to write down whatever comes to mind. (There are no wrong answers!)

Red wine being swirled in a glass.

4) Swirl and Sip

Give the wine another hefty swirl and take a sip while also taking in the aromas through your nose. Most of the taste is actually smell, so it's helpful to smell the wine as it splashes across your taste buds. 

Some questions to consider:

  • What does it taste like? 
  • Is it sweet like a piece of fruit or candy? 
  • Is it tart like a lemon? 
  • Is it kind of bitter like baking cocoa or black coffee? If this wine were a dance move what would it be? 
  • Would this wine maybe taste better with food, or is it great all on its own? 
  • If you were going to make something tasty to eat with it, what would it be?

Here's another example:

  • If our Penetration Cabernet Sauvignon were a dance, it would be a tango. Direct, to the point, and very sexy. We smell a hint of dark fruity flavors and a some spice (like in cloves). It's delish on it's own, it would also go great with a big juicy burger.

5) Cleanse and repeat 

For best results, make sure you cleanse your palate in between glasses with a small sip of water. Continue to swirl, smell, and taste each wine as often as you like and see what flavors and aromas continue to jump out at you. A wine tasting is like dating your taste buds—use this time to find out what wines you really love! Be sure to make some notes about each wine on your Evoke scorecard and...voila!

Look at you, enjoying a fancy at-home wine tasting! 

We did say it would be easy, and hopefully, you're having fun with it too!