Wine Evaluation: Tips from the Pros

To make good wine one must understand what good wine is and, alternatively, understand and be able to detect wine faults. Anyone can learn to evaluate wine, and as a winemaker it is critical to be able to identify wine faults. If you want to learn where to begin, taking tips from these pros is a great place to start! Joe Dautlick is a graduate of the American Wine Society (AWS) Judge Training Program and is now an instructor as well as the Director of Competitions for the AWS. His interest in wine began as he tasted at wineries in Europe where he worked for four years. Later he volunteered in a Pennsylvania vineyard, where he had hands-on experience in every stage of wine production from pruning to final blending. Joe annually organizes many amateur winemaker competitions and judges in numerous amateur and commercial competitions, including the WineMaker International Amateur Wine Competition. To evaluate wine, I follow the five “S” steps — see, swirl, smell, sip and then spit or savor. You can tell a lot about a wine in