What Main Senses Are Involved in Wine Tasting?

When we talk about wine tasting, it’s a lot more than just “tasting”. Sight, smell, taste, and even touch are all a vital part of forming your perceptions and appreciating the different properties of a wine. 

If you’re new to wine tasting, don’t worry! Here’s what you might find interesting about the different senses involved, and how to use them. 


The first part of wine tasting is always about using your vision. Once the wine is in your glass, note the color, the depth, and the hues you see. There are three ways you do this: look into the glass, look at the side of the glass, and gently tilt your glass. 

With practice, you can even look at the color and may get to the point where you can tell what type of grape was used to make the wine. You’ll also learn how hues indicate the weight of the wine. It is either full-bodied or light.

Next, you’ll swirl the wine. In this process, you use your sight to note the droplets or “legs” that form on the inside of the glass. This indicates the multiple things such as glycerine, or alcohol content of the wine. 


Swirling the wine starts the second part of the wine tasting process. This is called the olfaction stage. Olfaction refers to the act of smelling something.

When you swirl the wine, you aerate it. The effect of aeration is to combine oxygen with the flavor molecules in wine –  ultimately making the aromas volatized and more pronounced so you can more readily recognize them.  

Start with small sniffs a little away from the glass. Then take a deep inhale with your nose closer to the glass. This lets you get a full sense of the aroma profile. 

The aromas you look out for are the primary, secondary, and tertiary aromas. Primary aromas are fruity, floral, or herbal scents.

Secondary aromas are the earthy scents that pair with the primary aromas. The tertiary aromas result from the wine’s aging process. 


Gustation, also known as the action of tasting something, happens when you sip the wine. Take small sips and let the wine coat your entire tongue. The taste will typically continue the flavor profile you picked up when smelling the wine.  You can also increase the sense of taste, with the same concept of aeration when taking in aromas.  In this case, you can purse your lips and take in small amounts of air while the wine is kept in your mouth.  It can look  a little funny, but it definitely works.

Tasting the wine gives you a sense of its acidity, sweetness, and alcohol content. 

All tastes that you pick up in our wines are created using natural ingredients rather than adding in flavors. 


You might not realize it, but you’re even using your sense of touch when wine tasting. This is known as mouthfeel, or the sensation you feel when tasting the wine. 

Mouthfeel can tell you about the tannin level in the wine. You know this based on how dry the wine feels, with lots of tannins meaning a dryer (more astringent) sensation.

It can also tell you about the weight of the wine. Thick or syrupy wines have higher alcohol or sugar content. Lighter wines have lower alcohol content, or less flavor compounds (such as multiple polyphenols, including tanins). 

Use Your Senses At Your Next Wine Tasting

Now you can impress your friends and get the most out of your next wine tasting by knowing exactly how you’re using all your senses!

Contact us to book your next wine tasting today.


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