Log In / Join Now

Wine Spectator School

Class 1: Tasting Preparation

tasting vs. drinking

Pay Attention to Your Senses

There is a clear distinction between hearing and listening; hearing requires no effort or attention, listening does.

The same distinction divides drinking and tasting. Drinking is easy; you've been doing it since you were born. Tasting requires close attention to your senses.

Evaluating wine means using your senses of sight, smell, taste and touch. You use your eyes to see and your mouth to touch, but your senses of smell and taste are less obvious.

Read on for a brief explanation of smell and taste. It will make evaluating wine easier.

Ready to enroll?

First, you must register for a membership to WineSpectator.com. Your membership benefits include:
  • FREE enrollment in any course at Wine Spectator School
  • Over 230,000 searchable ratings and tasting notes
  • FREE mobile access so you can research wines wherever you are
  • E-newsletters with advance ratings
  • Editors’ blogs
  • Food and wine matching tool
  • And much more
Log In If You're Already a WineSpectator.com Member

If you have questions about Wine Spectator School, please contact us.

Free Email Newsletters—Sign Up

Sips & Tips | Wine & Healthy Living
Video Theater | Collecting & Auctions
New! Ratings Flash | New! Unfiltered

» View samples
» Or sign up now!
» Manage my newsletter preferences


The marketplace for all your wine needs, including:

Wine Storage | Wine Clubs
Dining & Travel | Wine Auctions
Wine Shops | Wine Accessories

WineRatings+ app: Download now for 300,000+ ratings.