How to Taste Wine

You don't have to be an expert at tasting wine; you just have to keep a few things in mind. See more wine pictures.

­You're having a first date at a nice restaurant, and you ask the waiter to bring you an expensive bottle of wine -- you want to impress the lady, right? The waiter arrives with a towel on his arm and presents the bottle to you. You smile assuredly. The waiter pops the top and hands you the cork. You're not sure what to do with it, so you stick it in your pocket. He then pours a splash of wine in your glass and you toss it back like a shot. He stands looking expectantly at you, while you stare blankly at him. Now your date is watching you, too. As your confidence fades, a little trickle of sweat slides down your temple. ­You have no idea what you're supposed to do. This was not quite what you had planned.

­The world of wine can be overwhelming for a beginner, and as far as knowing what to do when someone pours you a 1977 cabernet, forget it. There's some high-brow swirling and sniffing, that much you know. But truthfully, you're more comfortable gulping down the cheap stuff.

Rest easy wine-o-phobes, because help is on the way. The process of tasting wine is actually a relaxing, highly pleasurable, multi-sensory delight. You don't have to be an expert to enjoy what wine has to offer. A little practice and a lot of intuition go a long way. Read on for some helpful tips that demystify the process of tasting wine.