The Five S’s of Wine

When it comes to wine tasting, there are 5 basic characteristics to look at.  They are see, swirl, smell, sip, and savor.  These 5 characteristics will help you determine what type of wine you’re tasting as well as tell you how old the wine is and what variety it belongs to.


When you first look at a wine, you see it.  First observe the color of the wine.  For example, when you observe two different types of red wine, one might have a lighter color than the other one.  This usually means that the wine was made in a cooler climate.  A red wine that is more translucent is usually a sign that it’s more aged.

The second thing you should do when you’re wine tasting is to swirl the wine your glass.  It helps oxidize the wine which enhances the flavor and aroma.  When you swirl the wine and it’s drips down your glass slower, this means that it’s a sweeter wine due to the density.

Next, before you taste your wine, make sure to take a sniff.  To properly smell your wine, swirl your glass a little bit and then take a quick whiff.  Then put the glass closer to your face and inhale through your nose.  Through the smell you should be able to tell the subtle scents in the wine.  Berry, vanilla, and citrus are all flavors that you should be able to smell if it’s in the wine.  From that, you may determine the quality and and type of wine you’re tasting.

It’s finally the time for you to sip your wine!  Feel free to take a big slurp of your wine.  It helps to continue oxidizing the wine, enhancing the flavors even more in your mouth.  Make sure to take a breath after your first sip.  Breathe in some air to let it mix with your wine.  After sipping your wine, you’ll find out how long the flavors last in your mouth helping you determine if the wine was light or full-bodied.

Last but definitely not least, it’s time for you to savor your wine.  As you continue to drink your wine, you’ll be able to taste the different presence of ingredients in the wine.  Similar to smelling wine, you’ll now be able to taste the subtle notes of fruit and acidity if there are any.  The longer the taste of the wine stays in your mouth after your sip, the higher the quality it is.

Hopefully this checklist helps your wine tasting experience for next time!