The history of wine tasting is as old as the making of the wine itself, (give or take a few weeks) which dates back at least 7000 years in some parts of the world. Winemaking has been practiced for millennia by the Ancient Chinese, Egyptians and Georgians. Although modern wine tasting is an art form, the practices of the earliest winemakers must have had similar practices to how we taste wine now.
Wine tasting is the process in which tasters have a series of steps that they run through to tell whether a wine is good or bad. The process uses the senses to tell how good the wine is. From sight and smell to taste, the wine has certain characteristics which make a great one stand out from the ‘not so great’ ones. In brief, wine tasting is a sensory examination of a wine.
Wine making is an artform, and wine tasting plays an important role in making great quality wine. So, where there is no real proof of wine tasting as we know it today dating back as far as the wine itself, we do know that it must have been done to ensure wines were made well.
How Is Wine Tasting Done?
Wine tasting is usually performed with four main steps, which are to Look, Swirl, Smell, and Taste. Each wine has different characteristics, and aromas and wine tasters can see the colors in a wine, smell the fruits or spices that were added along the process and taste the bold (or subtle) flavors of the liquid.
Modern wine tasting has a common set list of ways to taste, which offer a great insight into the wine, based on the simple process. Modern wine tasting has been performed since the 14th Century and constantly evolves as technology changes, however, the basic principles stay the same. There are three main processes of wine tasting, and they are as follows
Types Of Wine Tasting
- Vertical Tasting
- A vertical tasting is where wines from the same producer are served, but all with different vintages (ages). The vintage is the year the wine was made. The purpose of using the vertical tasting process is to identify the differences between wines from the same vineyard but in different years. Each year, the weather is different, and the processes of winemaking are altered because of this, so no two years will produce the exact same wine.
- Horizontal Tasting
- A horizontal tasting is where wine is served from the same region, with the same year, but from many different wine producers. The purpose of this is to see the differences between the areas and specific production methods.
- Blind Tasting
- Blind tasting is where tasters drink wine from unidentified producers to ensure their opinion is not influenced by a brand. This way wines are truly tasted by their characteristics rather than a preconceived opinion of a brand.