Wine-Tasting-At-Home

Wine Tasting at Home – A Beginner’s Guide

We’ve gone from drinking on our dining room table, to the couch, out on the patio, and on occasion, in bed. There are no longer designated ‘sipping zones’ in self-isolation, rather all spots are open to sip in as we drink wine wherever and whenever we deem necessary for the day. 

Hosting your own wine tasting at home is the perfect afternoon activity, whether you’re isolating by yourself, with a roommate or with a partner. And bonus points, the tasting can be done almost anywhere in your home, so take a seat in any of your so-called ‘sipping zones’ and let’s get started.

What wine goes best with a side of quarantine?

Our beginner’s guide to wine tasting at home will help you answer the question for yourself! 🍷

How to Choose Your Wine Selection

First things first, you need wine!!

To host your own wine tasting, you’ll want a selection of wine at arms-reach. You get to decide how small or large your wine selection for your tasting will be, so grab a few bottles in your cupboard or order a few bottles (or a case) for the occasion! 

This at-home wine tasting is the perfect time to explore your palate, so why not order a couple new wines to taste?

Thankfully, with Sippd you’re able to hop online to wine.com and browse their selection of more than 40,000 wines to find the bottles that align closest to your tastes. Our personal wine recommender platform uses artificial intelligence to learn your taste preferences, then assigns each bottle with a 1-100 score, that we call your ‘Taste Match’. Your Taste Match let’s you know how much you’ll enjoy the bottle, so the higher the score is to 100%, the more you’ll enjoy! 

Sippd Taste Match helps you discover wines you'll love.

Notice a varietal you’ve always thought sounded interesting but are unsure if you’ll like it?

Look for a bottle with a high Sippd Taste Match and add to your cart so you can finally take that long-awaited sip, knowing for sure that you’ll like it.

Install Sippd now so you can find yourself the perfect bottles for the occasion.

Sippd: Discover Wines You'll Love

We suggest having at least 2 different varietals and at least 6 bottles to try during your tasting. Whether that be a few bottles of Pinot Grigio and a Gewürztraminer, a Pinot Noir and a Zinfandel, or a Syrah and Sauvignon Blanc, you can’t go wrong with your picks. 

While you may think you need to know a lot about wine or be a sommelier to host your own wine tasting, you don’t!

Wine is supposed to be fun and exciting. Plus, you have your digital sommelier Sippd here to help you choose the right wines for you 😉 

What You Need

Now that you have the bottles you’re wanting to taste, let’s talk about what other items you’ll need for a fun wine tasting at home.

Wine tasting at home essentials.
  1. Wine Glasses

This is the second obvious need besides the sacred juice itself.

Since this is a beginner’s guide, we’re not going to get technical about what type of glass to use for which wine varietal. But keep an eye out in our future posts, as we will also cover the right glasses for different wines!

While the shape of the wine glass does have an impact on how the wine tastes and how well the aromas open up, we’ll be keeping this tasting event simple- so grab whatever glasses you have at home so you can #GetSipping.

2. A Wine Opener

We all know those bottles can be pesky to open sometimes! Have a manual corkscrew or electric bottle opener ready to use and you’ll be set. 

3. Paper and Pen

Two other items that seem self-explanatory, but hey, sometimes we need to be reminded of the obvious!

You’ll want a notepad or piece of paper and pen to be able to jot down your thoughts on each wine. We’ll get to these specifics on what you want to pay attention to while sipping a little later in this post.

4. Plain Crackers

You’ll want to cleanse your palate periodically as you begin to taste different wines. So keep this little side-bite plain so you don’t throw off each wine with too much flavor. Keep this same premise in mind if you’re wanting to add bread or cheese to your dinner plate.

We suggest eating any other food after you finish your wine tasting to not alter the wine’s profile.

5. Water

Stay hydrated and help cleanse your palate even more with a large glass of water next to you during your tastings. 

Sip Solo or with Friends

The glorious aspect of wine is that you can drink it by yourself, with a partner, or with an endless group of people!

Want to have a wine tasting by yourself in your apartment while blasting old-school classic tunes? Go for it. Want to make this a date-night activity for you and your partner? Easy! Turn up the romance with jazz, classical or low-key indie music, or light a candle or ten around your wine-tasting area. Want to hop on a Zoom call with your friends from college? Organize a date and time to call-in, sip together and share your thoughts.

The opportunities are endless and all result in an experience you’ll remember forever. 

How to have a wine tasting at home with friends.

Our ‘Combine with Friend’s Preferences’ feature is coming soon, which will allow you to tell us which friend you’re sipping with and Sippd will recommend you top Taste Matches for you and your friend’s tastes! Want to know when it’s released? Sign-up for our feature updates email subscription here. *link for emails here*

Now how should you order which wines to sip on first and which to sip on last? We have you covered.

How to Order Your Tasting

Again, we’re keeping things simple here. As a general rule, the proper order of tasting is:

  1. White before red
  2. Dry before sweet
  3. Older before younger

Wondering where sparkling wine and rosé fits in? Start off with your sparkling wines like Champagne and Cava before you move to your light white wines and onto bold whites. Next, try your rosés before moving onto light red wines then bold reds. Lastly, end with your sweet wines like port and dessert wine. 

Using this general order as a basic rule helps keep your palate light and fresh as you are tasting new wines. 

How to order your wines for tasting.
Photo Credit: Wine Folly

How to Serve Your Wine (Temperature)

So you ordered your bottles of wine using Sippd, you have your glasses ready to sip with, and the order in which you’ll be sipping your wines. But do you want to sip each wine chilled, room-temperature, or somewhere in between? 

Everyone has their own preferences, but here are general guidelines for a few types of wine if you’re unsure where to start:

  1. For light, dry sparklings, whites and rosés, serve chilled to preserve their freshness and fruitiness. Keeping these wines chill helps to preserve their balance without losing their vibrant, flavorful aromas.
  2. For full-bodied white wines and light, fruity reds, serve slightly chilled at 50° to 60° F to pick up more of the complexity and aromatics of a rich wine or to make a fruity wine more refreshing. Don’t have a wine fridge at home? No worries, keep these bottles in your fridge initially, but leave them out on your counter for about an hour before starting your event. 
  3. For full-bodied red wines and ports, serve at room temperature or the slightest bit cooler so the wines taste less bitter.
Types of wines to taste at your wine tasting.

What To Note During Your Wine Tasting

For this tasting portion, we’re going to focus on 3 characteristics: aromas/flavors, structure and finish.

  1. Aromas/Flavors

Wine tastings use your mouth as well as your nose! Before you taste, you’ll want to smell.

Once you fill a quarter of a glass with your chosen wine, you’ll want to grab the glass by the stem, swirl your glass slightly for three seconds so you can allow the aromas of the wine to open up, and take a sniff of your wine.

You’ll note the aromas you smell first. Maybe the wine is fruity with hints of cherries, raspberries or lemon, floral like lavender, earthy like soils, or spiced like vanilla, nutmeg or cinnamon. 

Wine aroma wheel for wine tasting.
Photo credit: aromaster.com

Next you’ll want to focus on the flavors.

Roll the wine around your tongue, so it hits all of your taste buds. Maybe a new flavor stands out to you or maybe that first aroma of cherries you smelt hits your taste buds predominantly. Note the flavors you immediately taste and the flavors that are left lingering on your tongue moments after you drink the wine.

Also note how long the flavors stay on your tongue, as that stronger aftertaste is a general sign of a good quality wine. Sip once or sip ten times- we’re all about the sipping!

2. Structure

We’re keeping this as easy as 1, 2, 3 by focusing on 3 components of a wine’s structure: acidity, tannins and body.

Acidity is how tart or puckering the wine is, tannins are how bitter or drying the wine is (aka why red wines are commonly associated with leaving your tongue feeling dry), and body is similar to texture- for example, does it feel thin, thick, or somewhere in between? Note each element on a scale of 1-to-5, with 1 being the lowest, and 5 being the highest.  

3. Finish

We’re keeping this last component basic and beginner! After the flavors go away, you’re left with the finish of the wine, which in basic terms, will either be 1. Soft, 2. Tart, or 3. Fresh.

  • Soft Finish – Whether the wine is sweet or dry, this finish has a note of softness to it. Think of it as the neutral between the other two finishes. 
  • Tart Finish – This wine will taste tart or slightly bitter on the finish, so you’ll taste more acidity and brightness.
  • Fresh Finish – Fresh is basically fruity! You’ll still taste a lot of ripe fruit flavors with this finish.

The Wine Tasting at Home

Now here is the fun part we’ve all been waiting for- tasting your wine! Pour, swirl, smell, and sip your afternoon away. 

We encourage experimentation. While we’re all stuck at home, you might as well order a few new wines to expand your palate! Be sure to rate each wine on Sippd to get even more accurate Taste Matches from your personal sommelier.

If you #GetSipping on a bottle (or two) you ordered using Sippd for your at-home wine tasting, we’d love to see it. Tag us on Instagram @drinksippd. 🍷

Install Sippd now to unlock your Taste Match and find the perfect bottles for your wine tasting at home. Happy sipping!