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The Biggest Mistakes in Wine Tasting

Updated: Apr 28

7 of my biggest pet peeves

Wine tasting is an art form that allows us to appreciate the intricate flavors and aromas of different varietals. However, even seasoned enthusiasts can fall victim to common mistakes that can detract from the enjoyment of the experience. Here are seven of the biggest mistakes to avoid for a truly memorable wine tasting:

  • Brushing Your Teeth Right Before Tasting: While dental hygiene is definitely important, timing is key when it comes to brushing your teeth. Please, NOT before a wine tasting! Fluoride in toothpaste can coat your teeth and interfere with the taste of the wine, causing it to taste sour or bitter. And the mint flavor will definitely twist your ability to identify wine aromas. To avoid this, it's best to brush your teeth at least 90 minutes before the tasting. This allows any residual toothpaste to dissipate, ensuring a clean palate for optimal wine appreciation. Or wait for after wine tasting :-).

  • Serving Wine Too Cold: While white wine should be served chilled, serving it too cold can mask its aromas and flavors. Optimal serving temperatures vary depending on the type of wine, but as a general rule, non-vintage (NV) whites should be served around 8 to 10°C, while older whites can be served slightly warmer, around 10 to 12°C. To achieve the perfect temperature, take the wine out of the fridge a few minutes before serving, allowing it to warm up slightly and fully express its characteristics. And don't wait too long before tasting it. We are in Singapore, wine warm up quickly.

  • Serving Wines Too Warm: Conversely, serving wines too warm can also detract from the tasting experience. Light reds, for example, should be served at "room temperature," but it's essential to remember that this recommendation is based on European room temperature, which is closer to 16°C rather than 26°C. To ensure optimal enjoyment, it's advisable to chill light reds slightly before serving to bring out their full flavor profile.

  • Wearing Too Much Perfume: A wine's aroma plays a crucial role in the tasting experience, so it's important to avoid any competing scents that could interfere with your ability to fully appreciate the wine. This includes avoiding wearing strong perfumes or colognes, as well as refraining from using heavily scented lotions or skincare products. In professional tastings, it's common practice to omit perfumes altogether to ensure the focus remains on the wine's aroma.

  • Not Investing in Quality Glassware: The vessel in which you serve wine can significantly impact its taste and aroma. Investing in high-quality glassware with thin rims and ample bowl space allows the wine to breathe and enhances its overall sensory experience. Avoid using plastic cups or thick-rimmed glasses, as these WILL detract from the wine's nuances and complexity. Wine tasting is a matter of using your senses. A fine glass contact with your mouth and fingers' will enhance your enjoyment.

  • Overfilling the Glass: Pouring too much wine into the glass can inhibit proper swirling and release of aromas, as well as making it difficult to appreciate the wine's color and clarity. Aim to fill the glass no more than one-third to one-half full to allow ample space for swirling and aerating the wine. Best tip is to refer to the level were the glass gets the largest.

  • Not Engaging All Five Senses: Wine tasting is a multi-sensory experience that goes beyond just taste and smell. To fully appreciate a wine, engage all five senses by observing its color and clarity, swirling it in the glass to release its aromas, and listening to the sound it makes as it pours. Take note of its texture and mouthfeel as you sip, and pay attention to the lingering finish. By using all five senses, you'll gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of the wine's unique characteristics.


Mimi Giraud - A Wine Adventure founder After completing an Executive MBA at INSEAD & passing her WSET level 3 (wine certification for professionals) with flying colors, Mimi's strongest motivation is to develop wine appreciation through games & share the amazing potential, complexity & beauty of the world of wines.

Her gamification concept for masterclasses brings a refreshing and fun way to learn about wine tasting.

If you are interested in finding out more about wine pairing, join Mimi for a masterclass. 



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