Course: Sensory Evaluation

Class 1: Before You Taste -- and See and Sniff

Sensory Evaluation Class 1 Summary


What Experts Do
Observe = perceive, identify and measure stimuli
Describe = use vocabulary and knowledge
Compare = recall similar wine types
Evaluate = synthesize observations and judge wine

Expert Know-How

Perceptual Expertise
Experts do not have superior senses, but have turned up the volume on existing taste buds and scent receptors so can hear messages more clearly. They know

  • How their senses work on biological level
  • Which wine components trigger which senses
  • How their senses respond to each component
  • How to interpret those sensory responses
Cognitive Expertise
  • Consistent tasting methodology
  • Vocabulary
  • Framework that helps wine experts identify and remember wines


Wine Features

Grouped by sense used to perceive feature

Sense Feature Sample Descriptors
Vision Color Straw yellow, garnet
Smell Aromas and...
Ready to enroll? First, you must register for a membership to 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 Member

Please log in using your email address and password for Wine Spectator School students who enrolled before 7.4.10, log in with your email address and school password or get more info here.

Forgot Password?

By clicking "Log in" you agree to the Terms and Conditions of Wine Spectator Online

Read our FAQ for more information

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


= members only

Keep me logged in      Forgot Password?

Job Opportunities

Passionate about wine? Wine Spectator magazine is looking for an enthusiastic copy editor in the New York office.

Email Newsletters

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

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