Wine Tasting for Dummies


(She likely is not a wine tasting dummy.)

During the International Food Blogger Conference I attended a few weeks ago, Bordeaux Wines hosted a Wine & Writing seminar that I found quite refreshing.

Working regularly with Wine & Spirits clients, I know enough to be thoroughly confused most of the time. I was so pleased to learn an easy way to “talk the talk” when wine tasting…finally!

It stems off of “F.E.W.” – Fruit, Earth, Wood. When you do a traditional tasting, you start by looking at the color of the wine, smelling the aroma of the wine, then actually tasting the wine. You can describe all three of these steps in terms of fruit, earth, or wood. And there’s really no wrong answer – everyone’s senses are different.


Here are some fruit-y words from Cork Buzz:

  • Citrus – Lime, orange
  • Berry – Strawberry, cherry, raspberry
  • Melon – Cantaloupe, watermelon
  • Stone Fruit – Peaches, apricot
  • Orchard Fruit – Apple, pear
  • Tropical Fruit – Pineapple, mango

Earth-y words

  • Grassy, moss
  • Herbs such as cilantro, pepper
  • Clay, mud
  • Stone
  • Mushroom

Wood-y words

  • Oak
  • Floral
  • Nutty
  • Musk
  • Vanilla
  • Caramel

For instance:

  • “This wine looks very berry – really a rich red color.”
  • “This wine sort of smells like wet rock.”
  • “This wine tastes like citrus and grass!”

…All phrases that came out of my mouth during this tasting! It was so easy when I wasn’t worried about tannins, terrior, dripping , varietals, jamminess, etc. I did not leave the session a wine whiz, but I wasn’t full of sh!t for once. 🙂

If this is all very intimidating, you have an alternative: