Wine Tasting: Sensory Techniques for Wine Analysis

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Description

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About this course: With its roots in ancient cultures as early as 6,000 BC, wine has long been part of the human experience. Today, increasing worldwide interest in wine and its complexities and varieties has created an international market valued at $304 billion annually. For the learner who is just getting started in the study of wine, this course will help you take the first steps toward understanding the physiological process of wine tasting. The first module will explore types of wine and help you set up your own tasting. You’ll also begin to build a sensory vocabulary. In module 2 you will review classic wine types of the world and set up flights of specific wines. Later we’ll exa…

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When you enroll for courses through Coursera you get to choose for a paid plan or for a free plan

  • Free plan: No certicification and/or audit only. You will have access to all course materials except graded items.
  • Paid plan: Commit to earning a Certificate—it's a trusted, shareable way to showcase your new skills.

About this course: With its roots in ancient cultures as early as 6,000 BC, wine has long been part of the human experience. Today, increasing worldwide interest in wine and its complexities and varieties has created an international market valued at $304 billion annually. For the learner who is just getting started in the study of wine, this course will help you take the first steps toward understanding the physiological process of wine tasting. The first module will explore types of wine and help you set up your own tasting. You’ll also begin to build a sensory vocabulary. In module 2 you will review classic wine types of the world and set up flights of specific wines. Later we’ll examine the various faults and defects that can appear in wine as well as techniques for spotting problems. In week 4 we’ll delve into the complex world of wine and food pairings, and its “seven deadly sins.” The course will culminate in a peer review project in which you will apply the knowledge and sensory techniques you have developed throughout the course to assess a specific wine.

Who is this class for: This course is primarily for anyone who wants to learn how to properly taste wine or how to pair wine with their food. For anyone looking to become a sommelier, serve in a restaurant, or just want be knowledgeable when tasting wine.

Created by:  University of California, Davis
  • Taught by:  John Buechsenstein, Wine Appreciation Faculty

    Extension
Level Beginner Commitment 5 weeks of study, 2-3 hours/week, including a final project Language English Hardware Req You will need to purchase additional materials of wine, food, and glasses for this course. How To Pass Pass all graded assignments to complete the course. User Ratings 4.8 stars Average User Rating 4.8See what learners said Coursework

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University of California, Davis UC Davis, one of the nation’s top-ranked research universities, is a global leader in agriculture, veterinary medicine, sustainability, environmental and biological sciences, and technology. With four colleges and six professional schools, UC Davis and its students and alumni are known for their academic excellence, meaningful public service and profound international impact.

Syllabus


WEEK 1


Wine Styles



In this first module we’ll take the first steps on our journey through the various categories of wines, starting with the flavor profiles of classic New World and Old World wines. We’ll also identify and describe flavor groups of wine and discuss sensory physiology including the visual, olfactory, textural, and taste aspects of various wines. We’ll also analyze how climate can affect the grape and wine flavor expression, and we’ll discuss the concept of "terroir". Finally, you will create a set of basic taste standards for practicing blind tasting.


18 videos, 1 reading expand


  1. Video: Wine Tasting: Sensory Techniques For Wine Analysis
  2. Reading: Before You Begin...
  3. Discussion Prompt: Your Learning Goals
  4. Video: Wine Styles Introduction
  5. Video: Introduction to Wine Sensory
  6. Video: Wine Glasses
  7. Discussion Prompt: Buying Wine Glasses (Activity)
  8. Video: Basic Wine Types
  9. Video: Old World Versus New World Wines
  10. Video: Climate and Style
  11. Video: Selecting Wines for this Course
  12. Discussion Prompt: Selecting Wines For This Module (Activity)
  13. Video: Formal Wine Tasting Set-Up
  14. Video: The Tasting Grid
  15. Video: Wine Clarity
  16. Video: Wine Color
  17. Video: The First Sniff
  18. Video: The First Taste
  19. Discussion Prompt: First Taste
  20. Video: The Second Taste
  21. Discussion Prompt: Comparison of Tastes
  22. Video: Wine Texture
  23. Video: Formal Wine Evaluation (Whites)
  24. Video: Formal Wine Evaluation (Reds)
  25. Discussion Prompt: Final Thoughts?

Graded: Module 1 - Wine Styles

WEEK 2


Wine Flavor and Aroma



In this module, the journey continues and we will compare and contrast the flavor profiles of eight classic red varietals and eight classic white varietals. We’ll also discuss the growing requirements for each varietal as well as their cultural and historic background and growing locations. At the conclusion of this module, you will write a descriptive analysis of the aroma attributes you identify in a particular wine. Finally, you’ll create flavor standards to help you develop your sensory vocabulary.


24 videos, 1 reading expand


  1. Video: Wine Standards and Varietals
  2. Reading: Selecting Wines for This Module
  3. Video: The Aroma Wheel
  4. Discussion Prompt: Aroma Wheel Exercise
  5. Video: Grape Varietals
  6. Video: Bordeaux Reds and Whites
  7. Video: Selecting Typical Wines
  8. Video: Chardonnay
  9. Video: Chenin Blanc
  10. Video: Sauvignon Blanc
  11. Video: Semillon
  12. Video: Noble Rot
  13. Video: Riesling
  14. Video: The International Riesling Foundation & Trimethyldihydronaphthalene
  15. Video: Gewürztraminer
  16. Video: Pinot Grigio
  17. Video: MLF and Buttery
  18. Video: Cabernet Sauvignon
  19. Video: Merlot
  20. Video: Pinot Noir
  21. Video: Syrah / Shiraz
  22. Video: Grenache
  23. Video: Sangiovese
  24. Video: Descriptive Analysis
  25. Video: Flight of Whites
  26. Discussion Prompt: Your Flight of White Experience
  27. Video: Flight of Reds
  28. Discussion Prompt: Your Flight of Red Experience

Graded: Module 2 - Wine Flavor/Aroma Standards

WEEK 3


Common Wine Faults



Is there something wrong with this wine? This week we’ll examine the philosophy behind what actually constitutes a fault in wine. We’ll identify the most often-encountered faults and explain how to recognize them as well as determine what caused them. We’ll also examine the Old World and New World sensibilities toward some of these faults, and discuss how some so-called faults may really be attributes that contribute to a wine’s complexity. We’ll differentiate between a fault and a defect and examine the range of classic faults and their origins. You’ll learn techniques for spotting problems and create wine defect sniff standards to practice fault recognition.


13 videos, 1 reading expand


  1. Video: Common Wine Faults Introduction
  2. Video: Common Wine Faults
  3. Reading: Materials to Acquire
  4. Video: Beauty is in the Nose of the Beholder
  5. Video: Threshold
  6. Video: Oxidation Faults
  7. Video: Vinegar
  8. Video: Reduction Faults
  9. Video: Oxidation and Acetic Acid Faults
  10. Video: Sulfites and Sulfides
  11. Discussion Prompt: Fault Tests
  12. Video: Microbial Faults
  13. Video: Cork Taint
  14. Video: Sulfites
  15. Video: Common Wine Faults Summary
  16. Discussion Prompt: Sommelier Field Trip (Activity)

Graded: Module 3 - Common Wine Faults

WEEK 4


Wine and Food Pairing



Can you drink red wine with fish? In this module we’ll discuss the often perplexing question of how to pair wine with food, and the physical, structural, textural, and aromatic aspects of both the "wine side" and the "food side" of the equation. We’ll discuss ways to improve your ability to make flavorful choices and determine the structure and "weight" of a wine. To help you predict a good food match, we’ll talk about the process of flavor profiling and how to decide whether to change a wine or food to make a pair work. Finally, we’ll discuss the "seven deadly sins" of wine and food pairing, and you’ll develop a personal wine and food scoring system.


11 videos, 1 reading expand


  1. Video: Food and Wine Pairing Introduction
  2. Reading: Materials For This Module
  3. Video: Pairing Wine and Foods
  4. Video: Deconstructing the Flavors
  5. Video: Bridging Ingredients
  6. Video: Food Weight
  7. Video: The Cherry Tomato Experiment
  8. Video: Balance
  9. Video: Sip, Bite, Sip
  10. Video: Grading Food and Wine Interactions
  11. Discussion Prompt: Food and Wine Pairing Prediction
  12. Video: Food and Wine Pairing Activity
  13. Video: Food and Wine Pairing Activity Continued
  14. Discussion Prompt: Food and Wine Pairing Reflection

Graded: Module 4 - Wine and Food Pairing

WEEK 5


Project: Fully Describe a Wine From an Unusual Region or Varietal



In this final module, we’ll conclude our journey into wine tasting with a project that will demonstrate your understanding of the physiological process of wine tasting and the sensory techniques required for accurate wine analysis. You’ll apply the skills you have developed throughout this course to making a critical evaluation and description of a specific wine. Working with fellow learners in this peer review process, you will demonstrate your ability to describe the appellation, climate, winery, varietal and winemaking style as well as describe the visual, and tactile aspects of the wine. You’ll also describe the flavor and aroma of the wine, and make decisions about the best and worst food pairings for the wine.


1 video expand


  1. Video: Analytical Wine Tasting Report
  2. Discussion Prompt: Reflection

Graded: Analytical Wine Tasting Report
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