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Meet Isabelle Lesschaeve,
your Wine Tasting Coach

Isabelle tasting in Porto, Portugal

I am glad you are stopping by Wine Tasting Demystified, a site I created that allows me to give back and share with you my experience as a wine sensory scientist. It has been a very rewarding journey and some of my best memories are related to the many sensory panelists I coached over the years and led to develop their tasting skills to become very discerning tasters.

Wine has always been part of my life. I grew up in France, in one of the most famous wine regions, Champagne. Although my parents were not part of the wine industry, I can’t remember any family event without bubbly served as an “aperitif”. That’s probably why I love so much sparkling wine

I trained academically at the University of Burgundy (Dijon, France) where I earned a PhD in Food Science, specialized in sensory evaluation of food and wine. All along my career, I published more than 50 scientific and peer-reviewed articles.

I was honored to be invited as a keynote speaker at several international conferences, including the Australian Wine Industry Conference in 2005, the International Cool Climate Symposium in 2006 and 2010, and the Pangborn Sensory symposium in 2009. 

I have been working in the field of sensory and consumer research for 30 years, and was fortunate to hold several positions in the wine industry in California and Canada. I created the first sensory research laboratory at one of the largest US wineries; our team was responsible of characterizing the sensory profiles of research wines and help understand the impact of specific practices in the vineyards or in the cellar had on the finished wines. 

Isabelle, judging wine at Veritas in Paarl, South Africa

I created InnoVinum Sensory Strategies in 2002 and provided expert services to major wineries in South Africa, Australia, USA and Canada where I resided. I advised sensory scientists in their implementation of good sensory practices. One major task was to recruit and train sensory panelists, and teach them how to taste wine. This consulting work gave me the opportunity to travel in many great places. Although InnoVinum has moved offices as I moved my career, the company still exists and operate this website.

Visiting a Port cellar

Touring the Cape vineyards

Judging wine
in South Africa

Honored by the Ontario Institute of Hostelry

I have partnered with Ann C. Noble since the debuts of InnoVinum, distributing the Wine Aroma Wheel in Canada. I translated the wheel in French in 2003 and it is available for french speaking wine enthusiasts since then.

From 2004-2008 I directed the Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute in Canada where I helped build the international reputation of the educational and research programs hosted there. A tremendous opportunity took me then to the Vineland Research and Innovation Centre where I created a sensory and consumer insights function. I continued there my research on wine, specifically on how external cues could influence wine purchase. I also advised start-up companies willing to leverage tasting data to predict consumer preferences.

In 2013, I moved back to the US to work for the world largest beverage producer in Atlanta, GA.  While these beverages do not contain alcohol, I have again applied my expertise in descriptive analysis to train sensory panelists and conduct research I would not be able to conduct in the wine industry.

I enjoy my role in the corporate world however my love for wine and its industry is too strong to let them go. Hence the creation of Wine Tasting Demystified, my contribution to make you become a better taster! 

Hey, if you’d like to know how I was able to build this site, read about my encounter with Solo Build It!

Please use the information on this site as a resource for you, to accompany you on your wine journey. Feel free to contact me or ask a question. There are no silly questions!

Sign up for Wine Tasting Tips, my monthly newsletter, to keep up with advances in wine science and sensory evaluation. And more importantly, Enjoy!! 


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