Wine tasting doesn’t have to be intimidating. By using the 5 S’s (see, swirl, sniff, sip, and savor), you’ll be able to get the most out of any glass of wine, especially Prairie Berry Winery wine. Not only will you be able enjoy the wine more, but you’ll gain an appreciation for it.

SEE: What color is it?

Look at the wine. Notice if the wine is clear and brilliant or cloudy and dull. A wine’s color is better judged by putting it against a white background. Colors give the taster clues to the grape variety, and whether the wine was aged in wood. Typically, wine that had been oak aged is darker in color.

The intensity of color within each varietal gives the drinker an idea of how the wine will taste. As a general rule, color saturation tends to go hand in hand with flavor intensity.

SWIRL: Give it air.

Swirl the wine a couple times. Heavy wines will be deeper in color and generally more intense on the nose. Sweeter wines, being denser will leave thick, viscous streaks (called legs) down the inside of the glass when swirled.

SNIFF: What do you smell?

Smell is the main sense used in wine tasting, so sniffing the wine before tasting is essential. A wine’s quality can be judged by its nose and taste. Consider what you are smelling. What does the aroma remind you of? Fruits or vegetables? Herbs or spices?

SIP: What do you taste?

Take a slightly larger sip than usual and hold the wine in your mouth for 3-5 seconds letting it coat the surface. It is here that the complex taste experience and characteristics of a wine actually happen. Look for sweetness, fruitiness, saltiness, acidity, bitterness, and alcohol. What’s your overall impression? Does any component over power the others or is the wine is balanced?

And finally,

SAVOR: Does the taste linger?

The finish is the sensation you get from actually swallowing the wine and it can be very different from the taste you get on your palate. What you want to look for is an alcohol taste and the length of time the wine taste stays with you. This length of time is called the finish and some wines can linger for as long as a minute.

Now that you’ve learned the 5 S’s of wine tasting , why not throw a wine party and share your new knowledge with a friend!