Wine Tasting 101: A Beginner’s Guide

Tasting wine can be intimidating - But fear not! Here is your beginners guide with interesting facts so you can sound like the connisour you always wanted to be!


Coals and Corks

5/28/20235 min read

wine tasting wine learning
wine tasting wine learning

All about the Squashed Grape

Wine is one of the oldest and most diverse beverages in the world. It can be enjoyed on its own, paired with food, or used as an ingredient in cocktails and recipes. Some have even played goon-a-fortune with a derivative of wine on the old hills hoist at a uni gathering. It remains a monetary asset in building friendships amongst the introverts, it can be a source of pleasure, over a romatic dinner it can result in pleasure, it's a part of many cultures, histories and has endless aspects to explore and appreciate. There is just something to love about the “squashed grape”.


If you are new to wine or want to learn more about it, wine tasting is a great way to start. Wine tasting is the practice of evaluating and appreciating wine using your senses of sight, smell, taste, and touch. Wine tasting can help you discover your personal preferences, expand your palate, and understand the differences and similarities between different types of wine. This will form a series in the weeks to come, where we look at improving our skills in wine tasting.

In this blog post, we will introduce you to the basics of wine tasting for beginners. We will cover some of the most common wine terms, styles, and regions, as well as some tips and tricks on how to taste wine like a pro. We will also provide you with some suggestions on how to find and join wine tasting events near you or online.

What is Wine?

Wine is an alcoholic beverage made from fermented grape juice. The type and quality of wine depend on many factors, such as the grape variety, the climate and soil where the grapes are grown, the winemaking process, and the aging method.

There are many different types of wine, but they can be broadly classified into four main categories: red wine, white wine, rosé wine, and sparkling wine. An interesting fact that grapes coming in black and white varieties only and that the pulp of each and every grape is identical in colour.


  • Red wine is made from black grapes (Yes black grapes, not red) that are fermented with their skins, seeds, and stems. This gives red wine its characteristic colour, tannins, and body. Tannins can make your mouth feel dry and chalky. Some examples of red wine are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Shiraz, and Zinfandel.

  • White wine is made from white or green grapes that are fermented without their skins, seeds, and stems. This gives white wine its lighter colour, acidity, and freshness. Some examples of white wine are Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Pinot Grigio, and Chenin Blanc.

  • Rosé wine is made from red or black grapes that are fermented with their skins for a short period of time (usually a few hours or days). This gives rosé wine its pink colour and fruity flavour. Some examples of rosé wine are Provence Rosé, Côtes de Provence Rosé, Grenache Rosé, and Pinot Noir Rosé.

  • Sparkling wine is made from any type of grape that undergoes a secondary fermentation in the bottle or tank. This gives sparkling wine its bubbles and effervescence. Some examples of sparkling wine are Champagne (from France), Prosecco (from Italy), Cava (from Spain), and Sekt (from Germany).

How to Taste Wine?

Now for the fun part. If in doubt, it’s time to pop a cork! Wine tasting involves using your senses of sight, smell, taste, and touch to evaluate and appreciate wine. There are four main steps to follow when tasting wine: look, swirl, sniff, and sip.

  • Look at the colour and clarity of the wine in the glass. The colour can tell you about the age, grape variety, and winemaking style of the wine. For example, red wines tend to get lighter in colour as they age, while white wines tend to get darker. The clarity can tell you about the filtration and fining process of the wine. For example, cloudy wines may indicate natural or organic wines that have not been filtered or fined.

  • Swirl the wine gently in the glass to aerate it and release its aromas. The aromas can tell you about the fruitiness, oakiness, floralness, spiciness, earthiness, and complexity of the wine. For example, fruity aromas may indicate a young or sweet wine, while oaky aromas may indicate a mature or dry wine.

  • Sniff the wine by bringing the glass close to your nose and inhaling deeply. Try to identify the different aromas that you smell and compare them with your memory or reference. The aromas can also tell you about the quality and condition of the wine. For example, fresh and pleasant aromas may indicate a good and healthy wine, while musty or vinegary aromas may indicate a faulty or spoiled wine.

  • Sip the wine by taking a small amount into your mouth and swirling it around your tongue. Try to identify the different flavours that you taste and compare them with your memory or reference. The flavours can tell you about the sweetness, acidity, tannin, alcohol, and body of the wine. For example, sweet flavours may indicate a high sugar content, while acidic flavours may indicate a high acid content. Tannin is a bitter substance that comes from the grape skins, seeds, and stems, and it gives red wines their dryness and astringency. Alcohol is a measure of how strong the wine is, and it gives warmth and fullness to the wine. Body is a measure of how heavy or light the wine feels in your mouth, and it depends on factors such as alcohol, sugar, tannin, and extract.

After sipping the wine, you can either swallow it or spit it out into a spittoon. Spitting is recommended by some, but I’m still yet to find a reason where this is applicable. Between wines you can also rinse your mouth with water or crackers between wines to cleanse your palate.

In the near future I will be releasing a downloadable tasting score card that will walk you through the tasting process, and allow you to commence tasting wines like a pro. This will be accompanied by a series of videos, tips and ultimately, we will release a tasting book to keep your notes over the coming months.

Finishing Up

Wine is a special drink that deserves a lot of love, and that’s what we give here. If you are like me and don’t like wine, could it be that you’re shopping in the wrong places? Shortly I will start to release wine suggestions and reviews which should give you a great selection of quality wines at reasonable prices to shop for at your local piss shop. I will be looking to see if I can work with a supplier to provide you with a direct link to purchase direct!

Once again, enjoy your day, love yourself, love others and above all else pop a cork!

Australian Wine Tradition
Australian Wine Tradition
Wine Grape Parts
Wine Grape Parts