How To Guess A Wine Without Reading The Label

by Brett Bayda 2 min read

Wine Tip 101: Have fun!  Learn about red and white wine, sharpen your wine skills, take the first step to becoming a SOMM with our Sip and Savor article focused on the beginner steps on how to guess a wine without reading the label.  Wine tips for life.

Have you ever wanted to taste wine and know what kind of wine it is without reading the label?  

Me to!  However, this is no easy feat and takes a ton of practice. Luckily, if you are one of our email subscribers, we’re going to teach you several tricks over the coming months to help you get to this stage.

Below, David, our guest wine educator, will discuss the basics of how to taste wine.  We are starting with the basics since our subscribers may be at different skill levels. 



Step1: See 

The color of the wine is the first hint you get at deciding what kind of wine it is.  Obviously, it starts with white or red, but what color of red?  Does it have deep colors?  Maybe a Cabernet Sauvignon or a Shiraz?  Or does is it lighter in color like a Pinot noir? If it’s light in color, you can rule out a lot of grape varietal options.

Step 2: Smell 

The second step in tasting wine is the smell.  This not only helps you determine what grape varietal it is but also possibly where the grape varietal comes from.  The best example is Sauvignon Blanc.  Sauvignon Blanc smells very different from other white wines because of its green and herbaceous aromas.  If you are a Sauvignon Blanc fan, you will know that a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc has a very distinctive aroma that is herbaceous and floral. 

Step 3: Sip 

The next step is always everyone’s favorite.  Getting to taste the wine to see if the flavors match up to the aromas.  Sipping the wine will reveal even more secrets about it. For example, has it been oaked?  If the wine has minerality, it often represents a younger wine.  Does the wine have a heavy mouthfeel which represents more complex grape varietals? 



Step 4: Savor 

This is where you must connect your senses to what is happening in your mouth.  Is the side of your tongue watering from the acidity?  Is the top of your gums drying out from the tannins?  Is the back of your throat burning from the higher levels of alcohol?  These are all things to look for when trying to determine the grape varietal. 

Step 5: Spit

The least sexy and popular of the 5 S’s.  Now not everyone chooses to spit, especially if you are only tasting a handful of wines.  But once you start becoming more advanced and attending wine festivals, you may try 100 wines that evening.  Do the math on that: 1 ounce of wine x 100 wines means you will almost certainly be getting carried home that night. 


That's a lot to take in!  Wine anyone?  Just kidding.  If you feel a little bit overwhelmed don’t worry about it!  We will be highlighting all these steps one by one in more detail when you order your wine shipment. 

Next time you have a glass of wine, practice the 5’s and start to see if you can pick out some of the aromas and flavors you taste. 

Brett Bayda
Founder- Sip & Savor


P.S- Help your friends become better wine drinkers.  Share the post on social so that you can compare notes with your best friends. 

Brett Bayda
Brett Bayda

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