The order in which you taste wines is crucial as it allows your palate to gradually progress from lighter, more delicate flavours to richer, bolder ones. 

This helps prevent your taste buds from becoming overwhelmed or fatigued and ensures you can fully appreciate each wine's distinct profile. 

Following a specific tasting order can aid in identifying the nuances and complexities of each wine, providing valuable insights into the winemaking process and terroir.

In this article, let's explore the ideal order to try the most popular wines! Here's what you need to know:

1. Start with Sparkling Wines

The ideal way to begin any wine tasting is with a refreshing glass of sparkling wine, such as Champagne, Prosecco, or Cava. The effervescence and acidity of these wines act as palate cleansers, preparing your taste buds for the wines to come. 

Also, sparkling wines are typically served at colder temperatures, which can help awaken your senses and enhance your overall tasting experience.

2. Move on to Light-Bodied Whites

After enjoying a lively sparkling wine, it's time to transition to light-bodied white wines. Examples include Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, and Pinot Grigio. These wines are characterised by their crisp acidity, bright fruit flavours, and delicate floral notes. 

Tasting light-bodied whites at this stage allows you to appreciate their subtle complexities and refreshing qualities before moving on to more full-bodied options.

3. Progress to Full-Bodied Whites

Next up are full-bodied white wines like Chardonnay, Viognier, and Chenin Blanc are next up. These wines are typically richer in texture and flavour than their light-bodied counterparts, often boasting ripe fruit, butter, and oak notes. 

Tasting full-bodied whites at this stage ensures their bold profiles don't overpower the more delicate wines that precede them.

4. Introduce Rosé Wines

Rosé wines, with their charming pink hue and versatile flavour profiles, make for a delightful interlude between whites and reds. 

Dry rosés, such as those produced from Grenache or Pinot Noir grapes, offer a lovely balance of fruitiness and acidity. Meanwhile, sweeter styles like White Zinfandel provide a luscious, fruity contrast. By tasting rosé wines at this point, you can cleanse your palate and prepare it for the bolder reds to come.

5. Begin with Light-Bodied Reds

As you delve into the world of red wines, it's best to start with lighter-bodied options like Pinot Noir, Gamay, and Sangiovese. 

These wines typically exhibit bright red fruit flavours, soft tannins, and refreshing acidity, making them an excellent bridge between whites and more full-bodied reds. 

Tasting light-bodied reds at this stage allows you to appreciate their elegant nuances before moving on to the bolder, more intense wines in the lineup.

6. Transition to Medium-Bodied Reds

Following light-bodied reds, it's time to explore medium-bodied options such as Merlot, Tempranillo, and Grenache blends. 

You can enjoy a richer texture, more pronounced tannins than their lighter counterparts, and complex flavours ranging from ripe fruit to savoury herbs and spices. Tasting medium-bodied reds at this point helps to gradually build your palate's tolerance for bold, powerful wines.

7. Finish with Full-Bodied Reds

The grand finale of any wine tasting should be the robust, full-bodied reds like Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, and Malbec. 

These wines boast intense flavours, firm tannins, and a long, lingering finish that demand your full attention and appreciation. By tasting full-bodied reds last, you can fully savour their rich, complex profiles without overwhelming your palate.

8. Optional: Dessert and Fortified Wines

If your tasting includes dessert or fortified wines, such as Sauternes, Port, or Muscat, it's best to enjoy these after all other wines have been tasted. 

Fortified wines are characterised by their high sugar content, rich flavours, and alcohol levels. This makes them perfect for ending a wine tasting on a sweet and satisfying note. 

However, be mindful of your palate, as these wines can be quite intense and may overwhelm your taste buds if you're not accustomed to their unique characteristics.


Remember, wine tasting is a personal journey, and everyone's palate and preferences are different. Learning to taste wine requires time, practice, and a discerning palate. The key is to explore, learn, and enjoy the experience while discovering the wines that resonate with you. Happy tasting!

Millon Wines is a family-owned South Australian winery. Our carefully crafted wines are made in small batches. We offer elegance and a delightful drinking experience that brings out the essence and spirit of the winery. If you’re looking for delicious and proudly Australian award-winning wines, we can help you. Discover wine today.