Many enthusiasts would like for you to believe that wine is complicated. While the flavors of wine may be complex, tasting wine isn’t something you have to be educated to do. However, there are a few things you can do to prepare for the tasting. The following are just five essential wine tasting tips for beginners.

Prepare for the Tasting

Because you will be trying 4-6 different wines at most tastings, it pays to have a small meal before hand. This can help ward off the ill-effects of having wine on an empty stomach. Once you’re through with the meal, have a few plain crackers to cleanse your palate. This will help ensure that you get the full flavor effects of the wine rather than a mingling of flavors from the grilled chicken you had at dinner.

Note the Color and Aroma of the Wine

When presented with a wine, take note of the color for future reference. After a while, you will begin to know the flavor of wine simply by looking at the color. When it comes to the aroma of the wine, you want to sniff the wine using your hand to waft the aroma into your nose. Swish the wine around in the glass again and note how the aroma changes when the wine is exposed to more oxygen.

Slurp the Wine to Draw It Over Your Tongue

It may sound rude, but slurping wine is actually the best way to get the full flavor. Slurping the wine allows you to bring the wine over all your taste buds so that each note of the wine is detected. Some tasters even swish the wine around in their mouth to get the best experience. You can then swallow or spit out the wine before proceeding to the next.

Cleanse Your Palate

Just as you did before starting the wine tasting, you need to cleanse your palate in between wines. This will help ensure that you get the full effect of each new wine. Crackers and bread are a great choice and many wine tastings will have a small plate available for this purpose.

Use the Three-Sip Method

Do not taste a wine once and decide you don’t like it. Wine experts recommend tasting the wine at least three times. Multiple tastings allow your mouth to become accustomed to the flavors of the wine and your mouth may not detect delicate notes upon the first taste. If after three sips you still do not care for the wine, cleanse you palate and move on to the next.

Wine tasting isn’t something to feel nervous about. A wine tasting can be a wonderful experience and an inexpensive way to determine which wines you like best. Best of all, many shops offer free wine tastings to lure in customers. Attend a few tastings and soon you’ll discover not only which wines you like best, but which wines pair best with your favorite meals.