A beginner's guide to tasting wine

Sponsored by Southeast Michigan Pioneer Wine Trail
Posted at 3:15 PM, Jul 07, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-10 16:57:22-04

Wine tasting is more than sniff, sip and swallow. If you are a first-time wine taster, you should know that there are special techniques involved in getting the full effect of a wine. 

Dave Burgdorf from Burgdorf's in Williamston and located on the Southeast Michigan Pioneer Wine Trail shared his expertise in proper wine tasting.

When you just take a sip and swallow, your taste buds acknowledge the flavor but then the experience is over.

According to Burgdorf, the key to wine tasting is aerating the wine. "Oxygen is your friend when wine tasting," he said. 

The first thing you should do is swirl the wine around in your glass to get oxygen mixed into the liquid. Next, you don't want to sniff the wine, but inhale it according to Burgdorf. 

"Very slow, just let it creep into your nose passages and sniff it very slow but fill up your lungs -breathe until you can't take any more in."

After the inhalation, it is time to take a sip. Beforehand, you want to place oxygen in your mouth to create a sensation from the wine. 

To do so, Burgdorf said to place your tongue behind your top teeth and take a deep breath through your mouth.

Air will be placed on the sides of your tongue, and that is when you want to take the sip. From there, place the wine in the sides of your tongue where the air is. Then, suck in the air slowly and move your lips slightly.

"(The wine) bubbles and then it just explodes in their mouth. Their eyes, if someone can do it and they've never done it, they're just like 'Oh my G--, no one has ever taught us that before.'" 

After this, you do not want to swallow the wine right away. Burgdorf suggests keeping the wine in your mouth for a few seconds, especially if it is a chilled wine.

"You let a chilled wine warm in your pallet and you keep it even longer and then it warms up to your body temperature and then it changes again and you get these moments in wine, and then I say you can go ahead and swallow it," he said. 

Wine tasters should also know that wearing fragrances or colognes can hinder the experience by blocking the aromas of the wine.

Burgdorf's Winery is one of eight wineries along the Southeast Michigan Pioneer Wine Trail. For more information on the Pioneer Wine Trail, visit

To enter for the chance to wine two tickets to Pioneer Wine Trail's "Barking and Wining Along the Trail" event on July 23 and 24, click here.

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