Wine Tasting Tips for Beginners

Wine Tasting Kalamazoo, MI

Imagine you’re standing on a patio overlooking neat rows of verdant grape plants that stretch out into the horizon. In your hand is a fragile wine glass filled with expensive aged liquid and your friends and family are looking at you expectantly.

What do you do when you’re the only novice at a Kalamazoo wine tasting?

While many people have drunk wine before, this doesn’t mean that they know basic wine tasting etiquette or how to detect subtle aromas for quality.

If this is your first wine tasting event, you’ll benefit greatly from reading our wine tasting tips for beginners. Our wine tasting steps can help you enjoy your next wine tasting event to the fullest.

For information on wine tastings in your area, we recommend you call your local winery. A luxury boutique inn might also offer wine tasting events.


There are many steps you must take before tasting a sip of wine. The first step is to inspect the wine’s color, clearness, and density. If you keep your wine glass close to your side, you won’t be able to see the full spectrum of colors in a single glass of wine. This is why we recommend you look straight down into your wine glass before holding it up to the light and carefully tilting it.


While you may have seen people in the movies elegantly swirl their wine glasses in their hands, we recommend beginners keep their glasses on a flat surface. If you notice wine droplets (called “tears” or “legs”) that run down the sides of your glass, this is a sign that the wine has high alcohol content. A reputable wine tasting venue will offer a wide variety of wines for their guests.


The fragrance of a wine will tell you a lot about its ingredients and overall quality. This is why it’s important to not wear strong perfume, cologne, scented body lotion, or other beauty products that could interfere with the group’s ability to smell. Be considerate to the other people in your wine tasting group by making sure the wine’s scent doesn’t have to compete with yours.

While sniffing your wine, be sure to check for the following aromas:

  • Fruits
  • Flowers
  • Herbs
  • Spices
  • Wine barrel aromas

These wine basics will be easier for you to detect as you attend more wine tastings and expand your palate.


The idea of a wine tasting event is to taste different types of wine, not get inadvertently drunk. This is why it’s important to only take a delicate sip of each wine offered to you. Make sure to thoughtfully compare what you smelled to what you taste. If you took your time evaluating the aroma, you’ll be able to confirm much of what you already knew about the wine ingredients.

Don’t offer your opinions until everyone in your group has sampled the wine. Serious wine tasters will get angry if you unintentionally influence their conclusions about taste. Avoid this wine tasting faux pas by keeping your thoughts to yourself until everyone has taken a sip.


When you’re at a classy event, the last thing you want to do is spit. However, you’ll find that spitting is encouraged at wine tasting events. Not only does spitting help you remain sober, but it also helps you keep your judgment for tasting subsequent wines. An upscale boutique inn will usually offer spittoons or ice buckets for their guests.

If you follow our advice, there’s no reason why anyone has to know that this is your first wine tasting event. Also, keep in mind that wine tasting events are open to people of all wine tasting expertise. This means that it’s unlikely you’re the only beginner. You can also learn a lot from friends who have more wine tasting experience. Wine tasting basics will become more ingrained over time.

If you are interested in attending our wine tasting events, please feel free to call our knowledgeable innkeepers at (269) 344-1827. Henderson Castle is an historical special events venue dedicated to helping guests feel right at home.