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Great Estates Okanagan
August 10, 2018 | Great Estates Okanagan

How to Have an Elevated Wine Tasting Experience

taste wine like a pro

Setting the Scene for a Great Wine Tasting

Tasting a variety of different wines is one of the best ways to improve your understanding of wine, develop your personal preferences and, ultimately, increase your enjoyment of wine. Who doesn't want to enjoy wine more?

Now, getting better at wine tasting is all about practice but, there are certain things that can influence your wine tasting experience. So, if you want to take your wine tasting experience to the next level, here are a few things you should be aware of.

Let There be Light
While wine tasting in the dark (or blindfolded) is a novelty, it's not the ideal setting. Good light in the wine tasting space is key for two reasons. The first is that you want to be able to see the colour of the wine in the glass. The second has less to do with the wine and more to do with psychology. Research studies have found that a nicely lit environment will lead us to have a more pleasant wine tasting experience.

Pause the Perfume
A good wine tasting environment is scent-free. This is so that your nose can focus on the aroma of the wine in the glass in front of you. Wearing perfume will interfere with these scents and can also dampen your olfactory receptors altogether. Plus, others may be allergic to your perfume causing them to get stuffed up which will significantly hinder their ability to smell and taste the wine.

Easy Does It
It goes without saying that wine tasting is not a sprint. There's no prize for finishing first. Take your time not only with each wine you are tasting but in between as well. There are many things to consider while wine tasting, so taking your time will help you assess everything from the look, the aroma, the mouthfeel, and the taste. Not only will tasting too many wines too fast decrease your ability to appreciate and consider the wine, it may also lead you to feel the effects of the wine - which will definitely interfere with your ability to judge the wine.

Spit and Cleanse
Using the spitoon while at a winery is not an insult. Firstly, spitting gives you the opportunity to taste more wines without feeling the effects. In addition, if you are tasting a wide variety of wines, spitting your first sip allows the wine to coat the mouth and, in a sense, cleanse away the taste of the last wine. Some people will use a plain cracker or piece of bread to cleanse the mouth. The is especially helpful if the last wine you tried is lingering or was particularly strong.

Sensory Setting
You might think that wine tasting only uses three out of five senses (smell, sight, taste) but did you know that touch and sound can also affect your experience? For one, the temperature of the wine can greatly impact your reaction to how it tastes. There's also mouthfeel - which is the physical reaction to a wine inside your mouth. You might determine that a wine feels velvety, sharp, cloying in the mouth.  As for sound, we all know that our auditory environment can greatly affect our mood, and this, in turn, can shift our perception of the wine. In fact, several scientific studies found that music can alter what you taste. One study even looked at whether specific styles of music could elevate the enjoyment of specific varietals - like drinking Syrah while listening to Enya.   

It's surprising how much scientific research has gone into perfecting the wine tasting experience. It seems clear that we owe it to science to make the most of all of these profound discoveries!

Of course, if you really want to elevate your tasting experience,  join us for one of the many fun and interesting food, wine and educational wine tasting experiences at one of our Great Estates Okanagan wineries. We’d be thrilled to welcome you. Or, host your own wine tasting party with a selection of wines that you choose  - it's something many of our wine club members love to do.


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