We all love a good wine-tasting! But have you ever found yourself at a tasting wondering what the heck you’re doing and why everyone around you is doing some, well, weird things with their wine? You’re not alone, my friend. We’ve all been there! So we’re here to take out the guesswork and give you a basic guideline of the five S’s of wine tasting. Remember that this is supposed to be fun, so don’t stress about hitting all five like a pro! Get a good feel for what the five S’s are, and just have a good time with it!


Before even tasting a glass of wine, you want to take a good hard look at it first. Take in the color–the depth and intensity of the color of wine can give you more glimpses into what’s to come than you probably imagine! It can give you hints as to the age, body, concentration, and overall style of the wine. A small tip if you’re new to the wine tasting scene: red wine will lose color as it ages, while white wine will gain more color!


That’s right–giving a glass of wine a good swirl isn’t done just to make you look cool! Swirling is actually an integral part of wine tasting–it aerates the wine and allows oxygen to “open up” the wine, revealing its complexities. Even further, it raises the intensity in most opulent, young bottles of wine, as well as in aged bottles. Just be careful not to over-swirl, causing spillage.


As silly as it may feel, the way to smell your wine is truly to just stick your whole nose into the glass. You read that right–tastefully get a good whiff! If the wine is somewhere between medium and more pronounced in its intensity, you probably don’t need to dive all the way in, but other wines may need some help! For those whose aromas aren’t as pronounced, give it another good swirl then smell again.


Here’s where some people get a little weird with their wine tasting, but for good reason. If you’ve ever watched a pro wine taster, you’ll notice they make some interesting sounds. All that swishing they do is to ensure that the wine hits every surface of their mouth and tongue. This is how they taste and gauge the bitterness, acidity, sweetness, tannins, and overall mouthfeel of their sip. Further, sucking in extra air allows for extra aeration, which helps the olfactory system sense the more strained components, giving all the characteristics of the wine they’re tasting. While you don’t need to go all out making a fool of yourself, a little air-sucking and swooshing is crucial to wine tasting! This is how you look for a wine’s primary characteristics (spice, floral, fruit), secondary characteristics (fermentation-related flavors, oak), and tertiary characteristics (the results of the aging process).


To really get a good taste of a wine, you need to savor its final essence. To finish well, you need to look for length, as well as a balance of tannin, fruit, texture, and acidity.

Our Super Secret Latah Creek Sixth S is this: simplicity. If sticking to the five S’s takes the fun out of wine tasting, then ditch ‘em! Keep wine tasting fun and relaxed.