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Wine Quality: Tasting and Selection

ISBN: 978-1-4051-1366-3
184 pages
February 2009, Wiley-Blackwell
Wine Quality: Tasting and Selection (1405113669) cover image

"I really enjoyed this book … A constant feature of this book is how well Keith balances his mastery of the technicalities with a certain 'common touch', the ability to explain sometimes complex issues in easy-to-understand terms."
Association of Wine Educators 

"… an ideal book to accompany a WSET course."
Harpers Wine and Spirit

Throughout the eight thousand years of vinous history wines have been tasted and their qualities examined in at least a basic way. Today producers can control the growing and winemaking processes, and the consumer may choose from a vast array of wines, both fine and ordinary. Tasting and evaluating these requires knowledge, skill and diligence.

Part of the Wiley-Blackwell Food Industry Briefing Series, this book provides a concise, easy to use and clearly presented understanding of the techniques of wine tasting, quality assessment and evaluation. The reader is taken through the various stages of a structured and professional approach to tasting and the book examines the questions as to what constitutes quality in wines, how quality can be recognised and how it is achieved. Also discussed are the faults that can destroy wines at any quality level, and misconceptions as to quality and guarantees.

Clearly presented and easily readable the book includes:

  • Diagrams
  • Tables
  • Tasting vocabularies
  • Colour Plates

Written by Keith Grainger, highly regarded international wine educator and wine consultant, this book provides a concise, quick reference for busy wine industry professionals, students or others who wish to gain a detailed knowledge of the concepts of wine tasting and quality assessment.

The Wiley-Blackwell Food Industry Briefing Series
Devised to increase the effectiveness and efficiency with which knowledge can be gained of the many subject areas that constitute the food industry, and on which the industry relies for its existence, this important series is intended expressly to benefit executives, managers and supervisors within the industry. Each book distils the subject matter of the topic, providing its essence for easy and speedy assimilation.

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Series Editor’s Foreword.




CHAPTER 1 Wine Tasting.

1.1 Wine tasting & laboratory analysis.

1.2 What makes a good wine taster?

1.3 Where and when to taste –suitable conditions.

1.4 Appropriate equipment.

1.5 Tasting order.

1.6 Temperature of wines for tasting.

1.7 Tasting for specific purposes.

1.8 Structured tasting technique.

1.9 The importance of keeping notes.

CHAPTER 2 Appearance.

2.1 Clarity.

2.2 Intensity.

2.3 Colour.

2.4 Other observations.


3.1 Condition.

3.2 Intensity.

3.3 Development.

3.4 Aroma characteistics.

CHAPTER 4 Palate.

4.1 Sweetness/bitterness/acidity/saltiness/umami.

4.2 Dryness/sweetness.

4.3 Acidity.

4.4 Tannin.

4.5 Alcohol.

4.6 Body.

4.7 Flavour intensity.

4.8 Flavour characteristics.

4.9 Other observations.

4.10 Length.

CHAPTER 5 Tasting Conclusions.

5.1 Quality.

5.2 Reasons for quality.

5.3 Readiness for drinking/potential for ageing.

5.4 Price/value.

5.5 Identification/true to type?

5.6 Grading wine – the award of points.

5.7 Blind tasting.

5.7.1 Why taste blind?

5.7.2 Blind or sighted?

5.7.3 Tasting for quality.

5.7.4 Practicalities.

5.7.5 Examination tastings.

CHAPTER 6 Wine Faults and Flaws.

6.1 Chloroanisoles and bromoanisoles.

6.2 Fermentation in the bottle & bacterial spoilage.

6.3 Protein haze.

6.4 Oxidation.

6.5 Excessive volatile acidity.

6.6 Excessive sulphur dioxide.

6.7 Reductivity.

6.8 Brettanomyces.

6.9 Dekkera.

6.10 Geraniol.

6.11 Geosmin.

6.12 Ethyl acetate.

6.13 Excessive acetaldehyde.

6.14 Candida acetaldehyde.

6.15 Smoke taint.

CHAPTER 7 Quality – Assurances and guarantees?

7.1 Compliance with ‘Quality Wine’ legislation as an assurance of quality?

7.11 The European Union and Third Countries.

7.12 Table Wine and QWPSR.

7.13 The concept of Appellation Contrôlée.

7.2 Tasting competitions as an assessment of quality?

7.3 Classifications as an official assessment of quality?

7.4 ISO 9001 Certification as an assurance of quality?

7.5 Established brands as a guarantee of quality?

7.6 Price as an indication of quality?

CHAPTER 8 Quality – The Natural Factors and a Sense of Place.

8.1 Typcity and regionality.

8.2 The impact of climate upon quality wine production.

8.3 The role of soils.

8.4 Terroir.

8.5 The vintage factor.

CHAPTER 9 Constraints upon Quality Wine Production.

9.1 Financial.

9.2 Skills and diligence.

9.3 Legal.

9.4 Environmental.

CHAPTER 10 Production of Quality Wines.

10.1 Yield.

10.2 Density of Planting.

10.3 Age of vines.

10.4 Winter pruning.

10.5 Stressing the vines.

10.6 Green harvesting.

10.7 Harvesting.

10.7.1 Mechanical harvesting.

10.7.2 Hand picking.

10.8 Delivery and processing of fruit.

10.9 Selection and sorting.

10.10 Use of pumps/gravity.

10.11 Control of fermentations.

10.12 Use of gasses.

10.13 Barrels.

10.14 Selection from vats or barrels.

10.15 Storage.

CHAPTER 11 Selection by Buyers.

11.1 Supermarket dominance.

11.2 Price point/margin.

11.3 Selecting for market and customer base.

11.4 Styles and individuality.

11.5 Continuity.

11.6 The place of individual wines in the range.

11.7 Exclusivity.

11.8 Specification.

11.9 Technical analysis.



Useful Websites.


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Keith Grainger, Wine Educator, UK
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  • Part of the Wiley-Blackwell Food Industry Briefing Series
  • Author is consultant to the wine industry
  • Succinct, user friendly and easy to assimilate information
  • Essential cutting edge information for the food industry
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"A detailed consideration of tasting including a chapter on wine faults as well as looking at production and the notion of quality plus the sorts of criteria professional wine buyers use when selecting wine." (Circle Update, March 2009)

"Keith Grainger's Wine Quality: Tasting and Selection is an ideal book to accompany a WSET course." (Harpers Wine and Spirit Weekly, February 2009)

"I really enjoyed this book … .A constant feature of this book is how well Keith balances his mastery of the technicalities with a certain “common touch”, the ability to explain sometimes complex issues in easy-to-understand terms." (Association of Wine Educators, January 2009)

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