In my opinion, wine tasting without a wine journal is like taking a vacation without a camera. How will you remember what you had? More importantly, how will you remember the wines you enjoyed most?
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Are you getting serious about wine?
A wine tasting journal is a must-have if you’re becoming a serious wine drinker. This is where you keep records of your wine drinking experiences. You can use these notes so that you can remember the wines you enjoyed. These are the bottles you’ll want to buy again. It will also help you avoid wines you didn’t enjoy.
These notes are also a great way to expand into areas of wine that are new for you. Depending on the layout of your journal, you can note grapes, distributors, regions, and other characteristics that interest you. When you’re tasting you can seek out different wines based on these newly found interests.
A wine journal is also a must because I trust my impressions of a wine more than anyone else’s. Reviews of other drinkers or from professionals are helpful. But, just because someone else likes a wine doesn’t mean that you will. Your impressions of a wine are the best predictor of whether you’ll like another wine.
Kinds of wine tasting journals
A wine tasting journal can be as simple as a drugstore notebook where you keep all of your notes about wines. The benefit of blank sheets of paper is that you can add anything you want to them. Any and all impressions about the wine are fair game.
Some people keep their notes in a spiral binder. This approach gives you the flexibility to move items around and add as many sheets as you like to your journal. Use can use a wine tasting sheet like Winosity’s wine comparison sheet to stock your binder.
Free Wine Tasting Note Printable
This comprehensive wine tasting note sheet will help you take clear wine tasting notes. Designed to compare two wines to each other during a pairing. But, can also be used to rate wines overall. Get this printable now, free from Winosity.
You can also buy journals that are designed for wine tasting. The benefit of a commercially produced wine journal is the structure of the tasting notes. Each page is organized in the same way, which helps you capture information that’s comparable across wines. Of course, you’re also somewhat limited by that structure.
There are also many wine journal apps. Like the printed wine journals, apps are designed to gather data in a structured way. So, comparing and searching wine notes is easy. Your data is in the cloud, so you don’t have to worry about a journal getting wet or damaged. You can also take pictures of the labels and other noteworthy features during the tasting.
The downside of apps is data entry. It can be cumbersome to type on a phone with a wine glass in the other hand. Voice data entry helps, but writing in a book might still be simpler.
Of the wine journal apps out there, we think our’s is pretty good. You can enter data via voice commands. And, it’s comprehensive enough that you can enter what’s important to you. Links to it are below.
Get the Winosity Wine Journal App
How to write meaningful wine tasting notes
Whether you prefer print or digital, there’s a wine journal that will suit your needs. But, you need to know how to enter the data in a way that’s useful to you. Knowing the basics of wine tasting can help.
Wine Basics You Need to Include
At the very minimum, I’d include the vintage, the grape, the price, the region and the title or name of the wine. Get a picture of the label if you’re able. You should also include an overall rating to keep track of whether you liked the wine or not.
Next, take note of other aspects that were interesting or new to you. What about the flavor or smell was unique? Was this a new grape for you? These are notes that can help you find other new wines to explore.
There are lots of other technical specs you can include in your wine tasting note. Each wine certification body offers it’s own reubric for describing wines. But, they all include the wine’s appearance, smell and taste. Enter something about each of these areas that is worth noting. What aromas and flavors did the wine have? What about it’s appearance was appealing?
If you’re up to it, use a standardized approach to wine tasting such as this one by the Wine and Spirits Education Trust. If you cover all of these bases, you will have a pretty good understanding of the wine you’re drinking.
Very few wine tasting rubrics include experiential notes, but these can be very useful. If you can, include how you’d use the wine. Is this a special occasion wine or is it perfect for a picnic? What food would be nice with it?
Winosity offers an experiential note sheet you can use. It helps you compare the experience of drinking wine to non-wine drinking experiences. Check it out and see if this way of thinking about wine appeals to you.
Free Wine Tasting Experience Printable
This wine experience sheet will help you understand wine in a new way. Designed to compare up to six wines during a tasting experience. Get this printable now, free from Winosity.
Wine Journal accessories
These accessories will help you get even deeper into the wine you’re drinking. For example, have you ever smelled a wine but couldn’t put your finger on what that smell was? These accessories will help with just that kind of issue.
After a wine journal, a wine aroma and flavor wheel is the most important tool in the wine taster’s toolkit. This wheel lists common scents and tastes you might encounter in a wine. They are grouped into categories for easy reference.
There are over 800 scents in wines. A wine aroma kits lets you compare scents side by side. You can smell the wine, then smell the aroma bottle to see if there’s a match. This might be too big to take out with you wine tasting. But, it’s a handy tool if you’re home wine tasting or tasting at a friend’s house.
This might seem basic, but a piece of blank white paper is always handy when wine tasting. Otherwise, you won’t really be able to see the color and clarity of the wine. You can just keep a blank sheet in your binder or journal to use when needed.
Wine tasting should be fun more than anything. For some people, the fun part is understanding the wine they’re drinking and how it fits into the world of wine. If you’re one of those people, start making use of a few of the tools mentioned here. You don’t need to start out whole-hog unless that’s your way. Start gradually and build. Before you know it, you’ll be a wine tasting pro.