By Texas Wine on May 1st, 2023

How to become a wine tasting expert

Many of us do much more than just drink wine, we become passionate about how it is made and admire others that can tell the story about a particular wine by understanding its different qualities and characteristics.

Your interest has been sparked through the articles that have been published here on Texas Wine and you have learned many of the basics that are needed to navigate around the wine world.

Your friends have been impressed by the dinner that you served them with perfect food and wine pairings and you now find it much easier to discern the quality of a bottle of wine before buying it.

Now you want to take that next step and earn a wine qualification, the question is where and how?

Wine Education - self-study, online, or a professional on-site course?

There are many options available to you, it is up to you to decide whether you wish to engage in a self-study online, or a professional on-site wine course. If you wish to study at an on-site course you should be able to find a local wine course provider in your area. There are a vast array of wine courses available throughout Texas.

If you prefer self-study online, the best provider of wine education internationally is the WSET (Wine and Spirits Education Trust) which was founded as a charity in London England in 1969 in response to the growing demand for wine education for individuals who wished to work as wine professionals. WSET qualifications are recognized in over 70 different countries and are standard in wine education.

Courses start very basic wine courses to the coveted Master of Wine which is the highest qualification possible that takes many years of intense study to achieve.

The great thing about WSET courses is that you study at your own pace and only take the exam when you are ready.

You can search for your local provider by simply inputting “WSET courses” into your search engine to find the provider that is nearest to you. Your WSET provider will be able to guide and support you throughout the learning process.

Wine and Spirit Education

However, before you decide to delve into a structured wine education course, there are some steps that you can take to better prepare yourself before you begin your wine course.

Attend wine tasting events

Texas Wine offers many wine education and tasting experiences in different locations around Texas where you will learn the basic steps of wine tasting and learn more about the amazing wines that are on offer in Texas. Sign up for our newsletter to stay informed about up-and-coming events.

All events are open to anyone regardless of their previous wine knowledge and offer a relaxed and informal atmosphere that not only teaches you about wine but is also a chance to meet other wine lovers and discover some of the finest wines that Texas has to offer.

These sessions are a very good starting point to begin your wine education as you then further your horizons and start to analyze wines that come from other parts of the new world and the old world.

Understand what is in your glass

By following the WSET approach to tasting wines you can begin to learn some different aspects of how to identify and taste wine and therefore become more confident each time you analyze a new wine even when you are at home. Ensure that you choose only one option from each of the lists.



clear or hazy



pale - medium - deep



White: lemon-green - lemon-gold - amber- brown

Rosé: pink - salmon - orange

Red: purple - ruby - garnet - tawny - brown


Any other observations

legs/tears, deposit, pétillance, bubbles



clean - unclean (faulty)



light-medium (-) - medium - medium (+) - pronounced


Aroma Characteristics

primary, secondary, tertiary



youthful - developing - fully developed - tired/past its best



dry - off-dry - medium-dry - medium-sweet - sweet - luscious



light - medium(-) - medium - medium(+) - high



light - medium(-) - medium - medium(+) - high



low - medium - high

fortified wines: low - medium - high



light - medium(-) - medium - medium(+) - full



delicate - creamy - aggressive


Flavor Intensity

light - medium(-) - medium - medium(+) - pronounced


Flavor Characteristics

e.g. primary, secondary,tertiary



short - medium(-) - medium - medium(+) - long

Conclusion - Assessment of Quality

Quality level

faulty - poor - acceptable - good - very good - outstanding


Level of readiness for drinking/ potential for aging

Too young - can drink now but has potential for aging - drink now: not suitable for aging - too old


Take advantage of the wine professionals that you come into contact with

Your local wine professionals are very passionate about what they do and possess a wealth of knowledge that they will be more than happy to share with you. People who work in the wine industry find great pleasure in sharing their wine expertise with others.

Move out of your comfort zone and keep an open mind

Move away from familiar wines and experiment by trying something that has been made by lesser-known producers and explore different grape varieties that you are unfamiliar with.

There is a vast array of wines that are available to discover and you may find something unique that is off the beaten path but that is delicious.

Be patient

The wine world is constantly changing and even wine professionals are constantly learning new things as wine-making evolves with the introduction of new grape varieties and wine styles.

It takes time to learn the different aspects of wine, avoid being in a rush and take time to savor every moment of the journey.

Practice, Practice, Practice

Practice makes perfect.

The more often you analyze wines using the WSET approach to tasting, identifying the different characteristics of each wine that you sample will become easier.

When inspecting the appearance of a wine, holding the glass in front of a pure white background gives the wine further clarity and definition.

Always use a clean wine glass when tasting the wine. If you are tasting several different wines, rinsing your mouth with water between wines will clean your palate. Avoid wearing strong colognes or perfumes as they interfere when trying to identify wine aromas.

Recording tasting notes is a nice way to remember the wines while at the same time creating to create a wine diary.

Another advantage of keeping a wine diary is that it is a good way to remember the wines that you would like to drink again.

There was a time that wine education courses were reserved for professionals in the industry.

Happily, this has changed and anyone interested in furthering their wine knowledge now has access to a wealth of information through self-study online or on-site courses.

The wine community is made up of individuals that are passionate about wine and are very happy to share their knowledge with others. Whatever study option you choose, rest assured that there is a broad spectrum of resources available to you.

Most importantly enjoy the experience while you explore and learn more about the mysteries of this wonderful nectar.


Author: Texas Wine
How to become a wine tasting expert

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