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The most frequently asked questions on wine tasting

Here are the frequently asked questions I received most often. Use them as a resource if you just started your wine tasting education or as thought starters to continue learning more about the science of wine tasting. 

I always told my students at the beginning of the term “There are NO silly questions. Just ask!”.

1. What is the best serving size?

How many ounces in a typical wine tasting?

Typically, I pour 2 ounces for a technical wine tasting, for which the objective is to evaluate the wine aroma and taste qualities. You can go as low as 1 ounce and as high as 4 oz. The more the sample volume, the less the number of wine samples you can taste in a session.

How much wine is in a tasting pour in a winery?

Well it depends, in general 1 oz. The winery rules may limit the number of pours to 4 for liability reasons. They want you to be reasonable in your alcohol consumption. Always expectorate if you drive and drink a lot of water!

How many wine tastings can you get from one bottle of wine?

A bottle of wine has a volume of 75cl, about 26 oz. I have served 20 wine glasses out of a bottle pouring 1 oz and kept a bit for re-tasting. For social wine drinking, event planners count a bottle of wine for 6 guests.


2. What is this weird wine aroma?

Here are the most frequently asked questions about aromas, and a link to the corresponding wine aroma dictionary page on this site.

How can a wine taste like caramel?

Usually, caramel is perceived in oak barrel aged wines. READ MORE .

Is it possible that I smell some kind of nutty note?

Well, yes it is possible. Hazelnuts and walnuts could be imparted by oak barrels too. READ MORE .

Yuk!, it smells earthy.

No, the wine was not contaminated by soil. Earthy smells could be the results of aging, however, they are more likely due to contamination. READ MORE .

Worse, it smells musty!

Now, if the wine smells musty, it is likely due to a bad cork. READ MORE .

This white wine smells like sherry. What's wrong?

This wine might be oxidized.The wine sample may come from a bottle that was opened a few days before and the wine was exposed to too much air. READ MORE .

How come this wine smells like gasoline?

Gasoline or kerosene are often perceived in aged Riesling wine. READ MORE .


Learn about wine aromas in the resource I created for you.  It includes more than the weird and undesirable aromas.
Terms are categorized in different odor families, following the Wine Aroma Wheel classification.
Learn about the aroma origins, the compounds imparting these aromas and how to create aroma references to train your nose.

3. What is the best wine aroma kit?

This is a very frequently asked question, it comes on every month!

The best aroma kit is the one you can create yourself with actual products such as fruits, spices, etc., added to a base wine. However, homemade kits cannot be stored for long and are not convenient to carry with you.

That’s why commercial aroma kits are very convenient, even if there are some drawbacks. For example, the aromas tend to be very strong and you are quickly saturated if you smell them directly from their flasks. A better practice is to add a few drops into a base wine for a more realistic aroma perception.

You will find more information in the 3 articles listed below.




4. Where can I find the Wine Aroma Wheel?

Discover why and how Dr. A.C. Noble created the Wine Aroma Wheel. The Wine Aroma Wheel continues to be an essential tool for beginner wine taster to practice identifying wine aromas. Wine educators love to train their students with it. What is the Wine Aroma Wheel?

You can purchase it on the Wine Aroma Wheel site.

5. What are the senses utilized in wine tasting?

The five senses can be utilized in wine tasting: vision, audition, olfaction, gustation and touch. However, olfaction and gustation are the principal senses at play during a wine tasting experience, vision being also important although this sense can misguide your sensory evaluation of the wine.

You will find more information in this article:
Put your five senses at work to make you a better taster  

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