Wine tasting at home

By J'aime Cardillo

19 Feb, 2023

Here's your guide to wine tasting at home.

We know wine tasting can be overwhelming, but it doesn't have to be. The perfect way to get started to is begin wine tasting at home, and taste wine that you enjoy, along with varietals and styles you may not be familiar with. You can also use tools like Halliday Wine Academy, which has been developed to help demystify wine and tasting wine.

While wine can be measured objectively by measurements like alcohol, sugar, tannin, acid, colour and clarity. Wine is also subjective, so the key is to remember to trust your palate.

If you're looking to understand how to taste wine, below is a guide to get you wine tasting at home. Once you feel confident, we encourage you to test your skills at your local wine bar or favourite restaurant.

A glass of wine being held up to a mouthTake note of the colour, aroma and flavour when tasting wine at home.

First, take a clean glass and pour your preferred wine. Assess the wine in the glass – what colour is it? Is the clarity clear or hazy?

How in intense is the colour of the wine? Light, medium or pronounced?

What colour is the wine?
White: lemon – gold – amber
Rosé: pink – salmon – orange
Red: purple – ruby – garnet – tawny

Swirl the wine in the glass. Swirling a wine will increase the surface area, it will also help aerate the wine.

Aroma of wine

Next, put your nose deep inside the glass and smell the wine. Be sure to take note of what you can smell.

Ask yourself:
How is the condition of the wine – does it smell clean or faulty? How intense is the aroma? What about the freshness? Is it youthful, developed, tired or expired?

What about the flavours? Can you smell notes of fruit, floral, spice, vegetal, woody or maybe something else?

Inside a home cellarTaste wines you like to drink, along with those you may not be familiar with.

Tasting wine

Now, taste the wine. Take a sip, and swirl the wine around in your mouth – take note of how the wine feels as well as how it tastes.

Consider each of the below:
Acid: medium – high
Sweetness: no aroma – lightly aromatic – aromatic – very aromatic – pronounced
Tannin: youthful – developing – developed – tired – expired
Alcohol: fruit – floral – spice – vegetal – woody – other
Body/weight: light – medium – full
Intensity: light – medium – pronounced
Length: short – medium – long
Mouthfeel: fine – silky – juicy – textural – round/linear – chalky – drying – astringent
Shape: linear – round – edgy
Flavours: fruit – floral – spice – vegetal – woody – other

Make this process a habit each time you pour wine. Be sure to taste wine in different glassware – specific to the varietal as well as other vessels like a mug or tumbler – how does the taste differ? Don't be shy about introducing food either.

Across eight modules, Halliday Wine Academy's Introduction to Wine course offers a detailed look at the Australia wine landscape. Learn about how to taste wine, how to approach food and wine matches, how wine is made, Australian wine regions, along with handy tips that address common wine questions.

Top image credit: Wine Australia.