Savor the Flavors: A Guide to Wine Tasting at Wineries

Wine tasting is a sensory exploration that takes enthusiasts on a delectable adventure. The five S’s—See, Swirl, Sniff, Sip, and Savor—guide enthusiasts through the wine experience to uncover nuances and complexities that make each glass unique.

A wine’s color, intensity, clarity, and viscosity can explain its grape variety and age. Additionally, a wine’s temperature can significantly impact the overall experience. This beginner’s guide to wine tasting at wineries like Covenant Wines will help you navigate the process whether you are a newbie or want to hone your palate.

Table of Contents

See & Swirl

When you’re first starting to taste wine, it can be helpful to follow a structured approach to ensure that you get the most out of your experience. The five S’s of wine tasting (see, swirl, smell, sip, and savor) are ideal for budding enthusiasts.

By following this structure, you’ll be able to develop a comprehensive understanding of the many complex flavors that make up each wine. Seeing and swirling the wine exposes a larger surface area to the air, which helps release the aromas within the liquid. Swirling also helps to observe the wine’s body by noticing any viscosity it may exhibit, otherwise known as “legs.”

Smell the wine, which is best done by bringing your glass to your nose. This can help you detect various flavors in the wine, including fruit, florals, herbs, and spices. It’s important to note that different people’s palates can sometimes detect a certain flavor differently; it’s all about finding your tastes!


Sniffing the wine opens it up to your olfactory senses, offering a variety of aromas – from fruit and flowers to earth and spice to even notes of smoke or lemon zest. Experiment with different smelling techniques, whether long and deep inhalation or brief sniffs, to find what works best for you.

Swirl and sniff again, allowing the wine to “volatize” (release) its deeper aromas. Please take note of any dominant scents and try to distinguish their origins.

Next, sip the wine – notice its level of acidity, tannins, sweetness, and body, or its weight and richness in your mouth. Please pay attention to how the flavors evolve as you savor the wine, and consider how long they linger after you swallow. Use your wine vocabulary to describe these qualities, drawing on your experiences and life memories for a refined description.


After swirling and sniffing, take a sip to experience the wine through your taste buds. Observe the initial flavors and how they evolve on your palate, including acidity, sweetness, tannins, and body.

While your tongue can only detect four flavors, your nose can discern thousands of scents! Take a second sniff to analyze the wine’s aroma, looking for notes of fruit or flowers. Some wines even contain earthy, spice, or woody notes.

Before taking your first sip, ensure your mouth and palate are clear of coffee, chewing gum, or other flavorful foods. This will ensure a clean assessment of the wine’s characteristics. Finally, tasting is to enjoy new wines and learn more about their unique qualities! Record your observations in a tasting journal to compare notes over time.


Wine tasting is an enjoyable experience for both novices and connoisseurs alike. It can also be a valuable learning tool to discover your preferences and expand your wine journey into new regions, grape varieties, and styles.

Start by observing the wine’s color and assessing its clarity and viscosity. Then, swirl the wine to aerate it, releasing its aromas and revealing its body.

Next, delve into the wine’s scents, identifying primary, secondary, and tertiary aromas. As the wine reaches your nose, assess whether it smells like fruit, flowers, or wood.

Finally, taste the wine, swishing it around your mouth and taking note of its acidity, sweetness, and tannins. Please pay attention to the finish, noticing how long the flavors linger and evaluating their intensity.

Jacqueline M. Faulkner

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