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SommEvents Blog

The Beginner’s Wine-Tasting Guide

Most people know that wine is made from grapes and not the kind you find in the grocery store. Wine grapes are smaller than table grapes, have a sweet taste, thick skins and contain seeds. It is this unique fruit that gives the world the large variety of wines available, and opens up so many opportunities for wine tasting and wine events that can be fun and educational for beginner’s right up to wine connoisseurs.

If you are just beginning to enjoy wine and attend wine tasting events, here is some basic knowledge to help you navigate through the world of wine. From the most popular types of wines to the different smells and tastes you will experience, knowing what to look for and how to interpret it will really help you develop your own palate.

Here are some single varietals of wines (means types of wines vs. blends)

White Red

Riesling (White) Pinot Noir

Pinot Grigio (White) Cabernet Sauvignon

Chardonnay (White) Syrah

Sauvignon Blanc (White) Merlot

By taking the time to learn how to properly taste wine, you will learn to discover the different flavours and nuances of wines and help you determine which wines you like the best. A basic four step approach to wine tasting includes:


Read the bottle (if available) for details on the wine grape varietal, vintage (the year the grapes were picked) and alcohol percentage. Once the wine is poured into a glass, examine its colour and make sure the wine is clear and has no cork in the glass.


Since the nose of the wine gives you a good indication of what to expect on the palate, you want to start by swirling the wine to unleash the aromas. In smelling the wine you will be able to get an idea of the condition (make sure it has not turned to vinegar), intensity and characteristics of the wine.


Everyone’s palate is different and so each person will have a different take on the wines they taste. Upon tasting the wine you will be able to determine the sweetness, acidity, tannin, body and some of the characteristics you enjoy in your wine selection.


As a wine expert, this stage of the tasting, is to determine the wine type, region and country it is from and many other details. This is all done without looking at the bottle, also known as a blind tasting.

For the novice, this is where you determine if it is a wine you enjoy and would like to drink again.

If you are interested in furthering your knowledge about wine and wine tasting, SommEvents offers several wine class options that are a great fit for either personal development or corporate events. You can contact us to discuss what you are looking for and we are happy to answer any questions you might have. Be sure to sign up on the SommEvents website to receive your weekly wine recommendation from the LCBO.

Try some new wines with confidence!


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