Wine Tasting Guide

Get to know wine

By Ralph Kyte-Powell

So, you’ve caught the wine bug and want to know more? Here are 10 steps to better acquaint yourself with wine.

1. Read up

Wine books provide an invaluable source of information and a great way to discover the benchmark wines.

2. Get good glassware

Wine glasses are key to enjoying a good drop. Seek out a tulip glass that holds about 400ml to 550ml and is shaped to enhance aromas.

3. Use the right tools

If you’re keen to drink older and European wines, you will need a good corkscrew. An Avanti Stockholm Waiter’s Friend for $10 is a safe bet, but if you want to go fancy, options retail for as much as $500.

4. Let it breathe 

It’s not just older wines that benefit from decanting – younger wines can improve too. A simple carafe does the job, but quality decanters come in all shapes and sizes.

5. Taste blind 

It’s amazing what characteristics you can find in a wine when you don’t know what you’re drinking. Track down some brown paper bags that your local bottle shop uses and bag up a selection of wines.

6. Sip and savour

It may feel showy, but swirling wine in the glass before you smell it will enhance the aromas and help you fully appreciate it. Take your time rolling the wine around in your mouth to think about its qualities.

7. Remember to spit

If you’re tasting lots of wine, be sure to spit. You can determine everything about a wine without necessarily needing to swallow.

8. Take notes

You don’t need to write reams of notes, but a record of your response to the wines you’ve tasted and what you thought will become a brilliant tool over time.

9. Explore wine regions

Taste, talk and wander wineries in various regions to gain a deeper understanding of wine. Start close to home and go further afield. Old World and New World regions are incredible holiday spots.

10. Hit the books

Wine courses are a brilliant way to fast-track your wine education. Some of the better wine retailers run wine appreciation courses, along with other individuals and organisations. You may even make new friends who form a wine club.