Learn How to Taste Wine with the 5 S’s

Y’all. I just KNOW half of you aren’t taking the time to truly taste your wine. But don’t worry, this isn’t a call out, it’s a call in!

Sometimes I find myself absentmindedly sipping my wine until, suddenly, I’m left with an empty glass in front of me and no real impressions of the wine. Can anyone else relate? While I certainly don’t think wine tasting needs to be some involved academic pursuit every time, I AM a big believer in taking a moment for intentional tasting. The wine tasting approach I’m about to break down is simple, but it’s used by experts and complete beginners alike. You won’t need to get out a pen and paper, and the whole tasting process can take as little as one minute. We all have time for that, no?

Meet the 5 S’s of Wine Tasting


The 5 S’s of Wine Tasting 🍷 now get drinking! #winetastings #wineglass #sommelier

♬ original sound – _ehiz


The first step of wine tasting is to visually evaluate the wine. Is the color a bright ruby red, or is it more of a deep inky purple? Can you see through the wine, or is it completely opaque? You’d be surprised how much you can tell about a wine just be looking at it. We’re often able to make predictions about a wine’s age and overall style just at a quick glance!


Major key here! Sometimes wines need a little help to release all of its aromatic potential. To swirl, move the wine in a rapid circular motion. This motion takes a bit of practice to get down (read: I’ve definitely spilled wine all over myself in the process of mastering this move). Swirling your wine will release all the necessary aromas in order to…


Really get that schnoz in the glass! This is arguably the most important step in the entire wine tasting process. Aromas will give you loads of information about a wine–where it’s from, the climate the grapes were grown in, and what sorts of winemaking techniques were employed. I like to take one long sniff followed by a few quick ones. One warning though–don’t overdue the sniffing or your senses will be dulled!


Ah, YES! The moment we’ve all been waiting for. Tasting is an extension of sniffing, as there are actually smell receptors inside the mouth. When you sip, you’re looking to confirm or elaborate on the elements you picked up when smelling the wine. This is also the step where you’ll be able to assess the wine’s more tactile components. Make sure to swish the wine around your mouth, because different areas of the mouth pick up different sensations. Then, notice: Does the wine coat your mouth, or is it more watery? Is the wine drying your tongue? Are you salivating?


Take a moment to think after tasting your wine. Don’t skip this step! Is any element out of balance, and how long do the flavors linger in your mouth? Most importantly, do you like it? Wine tasting is entirely subjective, and all judgements are valid. Articulating your opinions will make you a more thoughtful wine taster. 


HA, PSYCH! Leave that to the professionals 😉



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Published by yourwinefriend

I'm a wine lover, blogger, student, and teacher. I help oenophiles make empowered wine decisions via fun + accessible learning!

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