No need to hesitate at the idea of wine tasting or ordering when wine for your guests in a restaurant due to inexperience. Once you learn a standard ritual for wine tasting, you can handle the process anytime, anywhere, on your own with ease and confidence.

It's actually a simple wine tasting ritual allows the taster to analyze the wine as thoroughly or as casually as the taster prefers. The ritual for wine tasting is broken down into four basic elements, which include appearance or color, bouquet or aroma, taste and aftertaste.


Clarity and color provide the first clues to a wine. Like looking for the perfect diamond, you are looking at the clarity and the color of the wine. Having a white or light colored background helps in this process so that the true color of the wine is not distorted. If it is a red wine you are tasting and the color is pale, that may be a sign that the wine was made from unripened grapes.

A red wine that is very dark in color is more likely to be robust with an intense flavor. A wine that is brownish in color may be old, begun to deteriorate or may have been improperly stored. As wine begins to age it breaks down, and all wines turn toward the brown hues. You are looking for a slight haze in the clarity of the wine but too much cloudiness may not be a good thing. Looking at the appearance of wine can give you ideas about the wine itself, but the true test of wine is in the taste itself.

Bouquet or Aroma

The smell of a wine will provide clues to the condition of the wine and the state of its development. The smell of a good wine should always be either pleasant or subtle.

Young or immature wines may emit little or no bouquet at all. Mature wines ready for drinking should display an aroma of fruit, suggesting the type of grapes from which the wine was made.  Older bottles of wine from vintages a decade or more in age may exude an aroma for only a few moments after the uncorking. This is why it is not wise to let older wines breathe too long before drinking them. The absence of a bouquet may detract from the tasting experience but it doesn’t necessarily mean that the wine has turned bad.

One must taste the wine to determine the condition of it. And, good to note, the reason we swirl wine once it's poured for tasting, is to release the wine’s natural aroma. Then simply breathe and explore to your delight.


This is the most subjective part of the tasting experience. Since everyone has their own flavor perceptions, they will react in their own way to the wine tasting process. Because of the degree of subjectivity involved in the wine tasting ritual,. The most important point for the wine taster to remember is to follow their own instincts and to decide for themselves what they prefer. 

Young wines may be harsh from the tannins that come from grape seeds and stems or from aging casks. Mature wines will be more balanced and harmonious. To appraise the taste of a wine fully, it should be swirled in the mouth and gargled. (The process is noisy and looks comical, but professional tasters always do it, often reflexively.)


Aftertaste or Finish is the residue of taste that is left in your mouth after you have swallowed. Some wines leave a long and lingering flavor sensation in your mouth, while others leave little or no aftertaste. If a wine leaves an unpleasant taste behind, it may be because the wine is high in acidity. This can also leave a bitter taste. The best wines tend to have a full, long and pleasing aftertaste, which usually means the wine, was made from ripe grapes.

Once you have completed the standard four step process in your wine tasting ritual, you are ready to give your impression of the wine in its entirety. You have used several of your basic senses for the process and the more times you partake in the wine tasting ritual, the more comfortable you will become with the process. Just remember to trust your own instincts and try many variations to expand your horizons.

Regardless of which rituals you might prefer— the swirling and sniffing of wine, the pull of a cork, the pop of champagne, the clinking glasses of a toast — they all have their meanings and their place in the unfolding of your wine tasting adventure. In fact, some psychologists believe they actually make the wine taste better, at least to the one doing them, so swirl, sniff, and clink away, just don’t forget to pass that decanter!