Essential Wine Tasting Guide©

+61 (0)403 220 886

i know what that aroma is.....

Essential Wine Tasting Guide ©

What is it?

How often have you been tasting a glass of wine, and you think to yourself "I know what that aroma is...." but you just can't put a name to it, even though it's on the tip of your tongue.....literally.

What you're missing is a light, portable, discreet, go to reference that's compact enough to fit into your pocket or wallet. Something that provides you with essential bite sized chunks of information about wine tasting and acts as a quick guide, or a useful prompt.

The Essential Wine Tasting Guide©, was developed as a result of experiences such as this, and it is the culmination of ten years of wine tasting notes and extensive research of major grape varieties and wine styles within the wine growing regions of the world.

Slip it out, open it up, and it unfolds to reveal 34 mini-pages of compact wine tasting information to help guide you in the analytical tasting of wine.

Features include

Sparkling / Champagne, white, red, dessert / ice and fortified wines including Brandy, Port, Sherry, Muscat & Tokay

  • Major and emerging international wine grape varieties & wine styles

  • Over 1,250 tactile and varietal wine aroma descriptors

  • Wine descriptor groups

  • Wine colour comparison guide

  • Faults in wine

  • Scoring wine

  • Temperature serving guide

  • Neutral white background for wine colour assessment

All this, and it's only the size of a credit card!

You will quickly realise, along with many international wine professionals, that the Essential Wine Tasting Guide© is an extremely useful wine tool that is...well, essential!

What does it do?

The Essential Wine Tasting Guide© is used as a

  • Key reference and educational resource for wine enthusiasts, consumers, professionals and students

  • Standardised wine tasting vocabulary to demystify wine talk which can seem so intimidating at first

  • Useful prompt for even the most experienced professional

  • Practical wine appreciation and tasting guide to use when tasting, selecting or purchasing wine

The Essential Wine Tasting Guide© contains:

Three distinct categories to help you focus on your Aroma and Flavour notes for over 30 different wine grape varieties and wine styles, by listing the most common aromatic descriptors for:

  • Fruit Influence

  • Bottle Age Character

  • Winemakers Influence

A vivid Colour Chart provides an objective way to evaluate the colour of the wine in your glass, and provides lists of terms to use to describe the appearance of the wine regarding its Clarity, Depth and Liveliness.

An extensive list of Tactile and Taste Descriptors to help you describe characteristics such as Balance, Body, Consistency, Age, Alcoholic Strength, Astringency, Bitterness, Carbon Dioxide, Tannins, Structure, Intensity, Complexity, Acidity, Sweetness, Length and Finish.

A comprehensive list of Wine Descriptors to help you define your overall impression of a wine.

A concise description of Wine Faults that guides you in detecting any problems you might unexpectedly meet in a glass of wine.

Recommended Serving Temperatures for a variety of wine styles to enhance your enjoyment of the wine.

A Scorecard for you to independently rate a wine and be your own judge.

Did I mention that it's only the size of a credit card?

Who can use it?

The Essential Wine Tasting Guide© is for everyone who enjoys wine, including the:

  • wine novice who wants to acquire a wine specific vocabulary

  • wine enthusiast who wants to increase their professional wine knowledge and vocabulary

  • those who want to enhance their experience of winetasting and broaden their selection of wine styles

  • anyone who is left speechless at tastings!

It is also widely used by people directly involved in the wine industry, including:

  • winemakers and wine judges when assessing wines

  • cellar door or wine tasting staff of wineries for staff and consumer training

  • wine educators as a concise wine appreciation resource

  • wine marketers as a quick-reference guide

  • retail staff for writing shelf talkers

  • hospitality staff for instant wine knowledge


Each edition contains the major and emerging grape varieties that are cultivated, produced, imported, retailed and consumed within a particular market and country. Each edition also provides idiosyncratic terminology specific to that country.

Editions that are currently available in the Essential Wine Tasting Guide series include:

  • Australia / New Zealand

  • Canada

  • South Africa

  • United Kingdom / Ireland

  • United States of America

  • Japan (Japanese language edition)

  • China (Simplified Chinese language edition)

  • Finland (Finnish language edition)

Wine Tasting vs Wine Drinking

The difference between wine tasting as opposed to wine drinking is that the former involves concentration, contemplation and evaluation. Both are enjoyable, however they serve two completely different objectives, and are not necessarily mutually exclusive.

The Composition of Wine and its Various Components

Most wine consists of a complex myriad of substances including water, alcohol, acids, sugars, polyphenols and phenolic compounds, salty substances, dissolved gases and aromatic substances. Each of these components affects the way we perceive the wines total composition.

Wine composition can be broken down into four major parts, as perceived by the senses:

  • Appearance and Colour - characteristics observed by light

  • Odour - volatile compounds detected by the nose

  • Aroma - volatile compounds detected retronasally (from within the mouth)

  • Taste - non-volatile compounds that contribute to the tactile sensation of the wine in the mouth

Our Taste Senses

The four primary taste senses that are perceived physically in the mouth, as opposed to flavour perceptions that are detected in the nose and in the retronasal passage, include sweetness, bitterness, saltiness and acidity. We are just starting to learn more about a fifth sense known as umami.

Also important in wine tasting are the other tactile mouthfeel sensations of astringency, the warmth of alcohol, and the tingle of bubbles.

Wine Terminology

Communicating the various perceptions obtained during wine tasting is, for many people, one of the most difficult aspects of tasting, and finding the right vocabulary is only part of the problem. The correct use of the terminology to clearly communicate those impressions is also important to avoid misinterpretation.

A tasting vocabulary should be clear, concise, unambiguous, and with the ability to make the recipient understand the interpretations of the taster.

Serving Temperature

Too often, grapes are nurtured by the viticulturist, crafted into wine by the winemaker, finished in the barrel, aged in the bottle, and then thrown out of balance due to an inappropriate serving temperature by the consumer. It seems a shame for the wine to have come so far, yet be compromised in the last few moments.

White wine is generally served too cold ie: straight from the refrigerator. This has the effect of subduing many of the volatile aromas which are responsible for the smell of the wine, as well as affecting the tactility ie: acids become more noticeable while sugars/ alcohol become less noticeable. These components affect the balance of the wine by decreasing the body.

Red wine is generally served too warm ie: off the rack which is kept in the kitchen, lounge room, etcetera. When served too warm, red wine becomes perceptively more alcoholic, especially on the nose as alcohol is very volatile. The wine also releases other aromatics too quickly, therefore not allowing the taster to discern the plethora of aromas, but rather be inundated with an aromatic overload that is less than pleasurable, and undecipherable.

The tactile perception of the wine also suffers as tannins become harsher, sugars and alcohols become more pronounced, and acidity seemingly diminishes. Again the balance is negatively affected.


Decanting is a useful process that can reduce the reductive aromas associated with aged red wine stemming from sulphides like mustiness, while slowly oxidising and releasing other more subtle aromas like fruit and spice.

In a young red wine, it has the effect of softening youthful tannins, thereby rendering the wine more approachable at an earlier age. It also reduces the amount of dissolved carbon dioxide.

Decanting can also create expectations associated with the wine, for better or for worse.


For some people, the glass they choose to taste or drink from makes all the difference, for others it makes none. If you are wine tasting or having a casual drink, the style of glass you choose can, and ultimately will, influence your overall perception and appreciation of the wine.

This isn't to say that every wine demands, or even deserves good stemware, but an average wine will seem better when consumed from it and a premium quality wine will seem less when tasted from inferior stemware. Characteristics of good stemware include:

  • Stem with which to hold and swirl wine, also avoids excessive warming of wine from bodyheat

  • Cut lip for smooth delivery of wine onto palate

  • Tulip shaped bowl decreasing into a narrower opening for concentrating aromas

  • Colourless

Professional vs Amateur Tastings

A professional tasting, by necessity usually has an objective, whether it is to analyse, produce, judge, blend, classify, or market a wine, the steps are usually similar - it is the focus that changes.

An amateur tasting can follow a similar set of guidelines that will quickly enhance the tasters ability to perceive more, evaluate those perceptions, understand the evaluations, and to ultimately increase the overall enjoyment when tasting wine.

Factors affecting Tasting

Many factors will affect the way you perceive a wine and therefore the degree to which you will appreciate that wine. These factors include:

  • Your immediate surroundings / setting

  • Location eg: sterile laboratory or dank cellar

  • Nearby odours / aromas eg: perfume, coffee, food

  • Degree of lighting

  • Noise and other outside distractions

  • Air current movement ie: diverts aromas from the nose

  • Both the ambient temperature and the temperature of the wine

  • Colour of surroundings ie: affects mood

  • Differences in personal perception

  • Concentration

  • Stemware

  • The time of day

  • Your expectation (this is affected if you have seen the label, cork, bottle-shape, sales receipt (joke) etc)

  • Your general health

  • When you last ate and what you ate

However, no factor will influence your ability to discern a wines quality as much as your wine tasting proficiency.

Wine tasting is a skill and it's intended to be fun. With increased knowledge and experience, your wine tasting will become more rewarding as you gain proficiency. Happy journey!

The Author and Researcher

Glen Green is an independent consultant winemaker and director of Wine Industry Jobs and Wine Industry Classifieds.

He studied oenology and viticulture at the Charles Sturt University of Australia where he gained a degree in Bachelor of Applied Science - Winemaking.

His winemaking, wine education seminars, wine tastings and wine travels have taken him to many of the wonderful wine regions and countries of the world, including Australia, New Zealand, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Portugal and Madeira, South Africa, United States of America, and Canada.

Glen was once in the winning team at the Australasian Wine Options Competition, a wine tasting competition that tests a contestant's ability to blindly identify a wine from thousands of possibilities by correctly answering a series of five questions on each wine tasted.

Glen's passion for educating and training others about wine led to the development of the Essential Wine Tasting Guide©. In it, he draws from his wealth of knowledge, experience, tasting and research of grape varieties and wine styles of the world.

With a thirst for knowledge and a passion to match, Glen has forged a reputable name for himself and is well respected amongst his industry colleagues.

He also supplies and distributes the Le Nez du Vin range of wine and whisky aroma sets in Australia via the site Wine Aromas.  Le Nez du Vin offer a range of wine appreciation and education products that will enhance your sense of smell and wine tasting pleasure, and can be viewed at

Trade Enquiries

Existing Stockist include :-

Winery Tasting Rooms

Winery Cellar Doors

Wine Festivals and Events

Wine Educators

Wine Industry Organisations

Online Wine Sites

Education and Training Institutions

Wine Stores

Wine Region Tourist Information Centres

Wine Tour Operators

Wine Bars

Wine Clubs

Wine Accessory Distributors

Gift and Duty Free Stores

Current Editions


New Zealand

United States of America



Europe and Ireland

United Kingdom


South Africa

All other countries please Contact us

Wholesale Price

Display and POS available online for Trade

Quantitative discounts available online that reduce with quantity

There maybe an appointed distributor located in your country. To obtain wholesale pricing, or distributor details, please Contact us

Display Specifications

Metric = 11cm x 12cm x 13cm

Imperial = 3 1/2inches x 2 1/4 inches

Specifically designed for winery tasting benches and store counters, this compact counter display, effectively promotes the product to your customer.

Product Specifications

Metric = Metric = 5.5cm x 8.5cm

Imperial = 4 1/4 inches x 4 3/4 inches x 5 inches

The only pocket wine tasting guide that actually fits into your pocket and wallet.

Product Specifications

Available in Start-up Packs of 20, 50, 100, 200 or 500+ units. Includes a complimentary display stand point-of-purchase material, and a complimentary laminated copy of The Essential Wine Tasting Guide© for customers to peruse.
Quantitative discounts are also available online or please contact us for details.


Your corporate brand and logo can be positioned on the neutral white back cover which is where the consumer holds each glass of wine up to in order to assess the wine colour. This placing ensures maximum corporate exposure.

Available for all editions and no minimum quantities apply.

This can be purchased through the STORE.

Admin set-up fee applies followed by a cost per unit reducing with quantity.



Airmail : 1 to 2 weeks worldwide

Courier : 4 to 5 days worldwide


Registered Australia Post : 2 to 3 days

Express Post : Next working day

Prices vary from country to country.

In some cases, there may be an appointed distributor located in your country, please Contact us for their details.



e : Contact us

t : +61 (0) 403 220 886

ISBN 978-0-646-41157-6

Barcode Available with either EAN or UPC on request

Interested in becoming an Exclusive Distributor in your country?Opportunities are available in certain countries - Please Contact us for further details.