University of California

Modern sensory methods of evaluating wine


M. A. Amerine
E. B. Roessler
F. Filipello

Authors Affiliations

Mr. Amerine was Professor of Enology and Enologist in the Experiment Station, Davis; Mr. Roessler was Professor of Mathematics and Statistician in the Experiment Station, Davis; Mr. Filipello was Associate Specialist in Food Technology, Experiment Station, Davis.

Publication Information

Hilgardia 28(18):477-567. DOI:10.3733/hilg.v28n18p477. June 1959.

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With the growing consumption of wine in this country and the rapidly developing interest of the general public in wine appreciation, maintenance of uniform quality and improvement in quality have become matters of increasing importance to California wine makers.

At present our only method of distinguishing quality is by sensory examination—visual observation, smelling, and tasting—and this is the province of professionals, calling for skill, training, and experience. To some extent objective tests can be applied to supplement and support sensory judgments, but quality ratings still rest largely on the estimates of expert tasters.

While much has been written about the various aspects of wine judging, the information is scattered and not always easily available. Furthermore, because of their subjective nature, standards tend to vary, and a major problem of wine tasting has been to achieve, by various types of testing, uniform and reliable judgments.

The purpose of this publication is to provide a complete guide to the sensory examination of all kinds of wines. The standards proposed herein are generally accepted measures of quality, and an attempt has been made, insofar as possible, to provide objective criteria that will be useful both to amateur and experienced tasters.

The first section is devoted to a discussion of the senses and the way they function, since this is considered fundamental to their intelligent utilization. The chemical characteristics of wines are discussed under color, smell, and taste, and the available data on their detection or differentiation are summarized. A list of words for purely descriptive work is given in connection with each of these. A brief description of the main types of wine produced in California then follows. Various types of tasting for different purposes are suggested. Difference testing is discussed, and the statistical procedures for determining significance are outlined. Finally, scoring and ranking procedures

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