How the pros taste wine, and what the heck is Quini

how the pros taste wine
This is going to make all of us amateur wine tasters feel very good. At the recent wine bloggers conference, I attended the seminar, “How the Pros Taste Wine.”  The three wine tasting pros were: Steve Heimoff, a well-respected wine writer and blogger, formerly with the Wine Enthusiast and now working social media with Jackson Family Wines.  Patrick Comiskey, a former sommelier who reviews U.S. wines outside California for Wines & Spirits magazine; and finally popular wine blogger Joe Roberts, 1 Wine Dude.   Each “Pro” described how he goes about tasting wine for his reviews. Each had a slightly different approach, but one thing that is very different from the average wine taster compared to the pro is the number of wines tasted daily. These three guys taste many, many wines on a daily basis. We might taste one a day if that. The more you taste, the better taster you will be.  In other words, practice makes perfect. Malcolm Gladwell, in his book ‘The Outliers,” suggests that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to become an expert at something.  I don’t know how many hours these pros have under their belts, but I do know it is far more than I have.  I guess I am destined to remain an amateur wine taster, and that is fine with me as long as I am having fun with it.

In this seminar there were four wines in front of us for tasting. Each pro had selected one wine and the fourth wine was a mystery wine.  Each pro took us through an informative description of the wine he had selected and described the characteristics he enjoyed in the wine. Now here what made me feel good about my wine tasting abilities. All three pros tasted the mystery wine and suggested that the wine was from the old world.  As one said, “Perhaps Italy, and maybe Sangiovese based, but not from Chianti,” the other two nodding in agreement. When the mystery wine was revealed, it was a Grenache from Australia. What?

So what is Quini?

quini appThe Quini’s head man was at the wine bloggers conference pitching Quini. Quini is a new wine tasting App and approaches wine tasting in a very novel way. I have been playing with the Quini App and do think it can help wine amateurs to improve their wine tasting skills and judge wines. Taking advantage of technology,  Quini takes a user through five steps for tasting a wine. It forces one to think objectively, but allows subjective scoring. The five steps are: Eye, Nose, Mouth, Finish, and Opinion. Each step is in the form of a flower petal. I love the fact that you can use your fingers to quickly adjust your score by dragging the petals left to right and up and down. The more you use Quini, the more refined your wine tasting and judging becomes. Quini also has some social media options. You can email your score to your wine friends and post to Facebook or Twitter. I would love to explore Quini as a tool for the Vintage Wine Tasters, or anyone who reads this blog, to share great wine values and bargains. I like it much better on my mini iPad than I do on my iPhone, but on any platform it is very cool.  If you use Quini, let me know what you think and, better yet, suggest some wines for us to try.

Here is a short video on what Quini can do for you and your wine tasting.


  1. Thank you for the mention, Joe. It is quite exciting and humbling to see tasters of your caliber and wine clubs like yours engage with and speak highly of the work that has gone into Quini.

  2. Franklin Liquors and the Franklin Wine Club have both enjoyed the use of Quini. We were the first to use Quini in a wine education/tasting setting in the USA this past June. This technology based tasting system is great to engaged a group on the tasting steps involved. As a retail wine buyer I taste many wines weekly and use Quini for all my tasting notes. There are many wine apps on the market and in my opinion none compare to the education power Quini can offer.

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