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The Wine Aroma Wheel

The Wine Aroma Wheel is a useful tool to help you learn about wines and enable accurate descriptions to be made regarding the complexity of flavour in both red and white wines.

When anyone begins to learn about wine and specifically wine tasting, many are unable to recognize, or let alone describe aromas, so the purpose of the wheel is to provide descriptive terms to these wine aromas.

About the Aroma Wheel

aroma wheel

With so many different styles and flavors of wines from around the world, it was inevitable that a way of correlating the various aromas would be developed. A group of wine scientists at the University of California at Davis - the leading winemaking and grape-growing school in the U.S - came up with something called the "aroma wheel".

The oenologists at Davis consulted with numerous wine enthusiasts and wine tasters to list all the descriptive terms they could imagine for the smells of wine. They organized then categorized them, eliminating all ambiguous or irrelevant entries, ending up with just 12 major aroma categories, these were subdivided into 29 subcategories and in 94 specific terms.

It's called a wheel because it is a circular table, with relatively similar smells placed close together around its circumference.

Professor Ann Noble, one of the developing scientists owns, should you wish to buy one as a gift.

Why use the Aroma Wheel?

smell sensory diagram

Novice tasters often comment that they "can't smell anything" or are unable to think of a way to describe the aroma of a wine. They don’t have the specialist vocabulary yet! Fortunately, it is very easy to train our noses and brains to associate descriptive terms with specific aroma notes in wine.

Using the wheel during wine tasting will facilitate the description of the flavors you perceive. More importantly, you will be able to easily recognize and remember specific details about wines.

Whether you are a connoisseur, beginning wine consumer or work in a restaurant or wine shop, the Wine Aroma Wheel is the most concise wine tasting tool and makes a great gift!

How to use the Wine Aroma Wheel

The fastest way to learn to recognize aromas of wine is to select two or more wines which are completely different in flavor, then look at the inner tier of the wheel for the best flavor descriptive words, (e.g. fruity or spicy) then go two outside tiers for suggestions for more specific notes, such as berry and if possible even more specifically, strawberry.

These terms are NOT the only words that can be used to describe wines, but represent ones that are most often encountered.

It is very easy to train our noses and brains to connect and quickly identify the aromas in wine. Your whole wine experience will be enhanced by using the aroma wheel.


Wine Aroma Wheel - Part 1



A person with increasing knowledge and sensory education may derive infinite enjoyment from Wine.

Ernest Hemingway