How to Taste Wine on a Boat

The Saturday Wine Cruise is back! Professionally-trained Wine Steward, Ariana, gives some tried-and-true pointers below to prepare you for tasting the featured vintages.

How to Taste Wine on a Boat

By Ariana W., Argosy Cruises Beverage Supervisor

1 - Look at it
Start with a small amount of wine — 3oz pour on the Wine Cruise works perfectly. Note the general color by looking directly at the glass, above, and to the side. Tilt the glass at a slight angle with some light behind it—always be careful tilting your glass on a moving boat!

Different wines can show a range of colors, from light yellow to deep gold, or from red to dark purple, and can be anywhere from clear and sparkling to dull and murky. All are factors in a wine’s age, weight, varietal, or fermentation style. Wine Stewards on board like myself can help determine all of these elements with you.

2 - Get to nose it
Give the wine a good swirl, either on a flat surface (for beginners) or in the air (if you're feeling bold!) and sweep your nose over the top of the glass and smell.  Often I find that specific scents of wine take someone to a specific place, either a physical location or memory. Consider the distinct scents associated with the wine. There are formal aromas that can help determine the age, varietal and other factors, but I find that it’s more fun to write down what immediately comes to mind, and discuss with friends or look it up after.

3 - Taste it
After you've determined a few scents, take a small sip and swish it around your mouth. To take tasting to the next level, suck a small amount of air in through your lips, like using a straw, after taking a sip.

Look for flavors that are similar or a continuation of the smells that you imagined in step 2. If all of the flavors come together fairly equally, you might say the wine is balanced. If different flavors stand out at different points throughout tasting, the wine might be complex.  Look for additional flavors, even after swallowing the sip, and try to determine what type of finish the wine has.

Expand your wine tasting glossary with 40 Wine Descriptions and What They Really Mean, and come on board!

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2020 Saturday Wine Cruise Themes

  • March: Seattle Wineries
  • April: Classic Washington Wines
  • May: Washington Bordeaux Wines
  • June: World-Inspired Washington Wines June 13th is National Rose Day (red & white available)
  • July: Yakima Valley AVA
  • August: Wines with a Cause New! 
  • September: Women in Wine
  • October: Favorites of the Season