Now that we’ve demystified some of the most common wine tasting terms, it’s time to put that knowledge to good use. Wine journaling is a fun hobby that requires as much or as little energy as you have. We’ve got some tips for putting together your very own bottle log.
A wine journal, as its most basic, is simply a place to record observations and opinions on the wines you taste, whether that happens at a tasting bar in a winery or in the comfort of your own home. Here are a few things that you might consider including in each entry:
- Date of the tasting
- Grape, Varietal, or name
- Winery and region
- A description of the wine’s color beyond red or white. For example, you might describe the blue notes of Lemberger or the amber undertones of a Chardonnay.
- Overall impression
- The label
Of course, you could select just two or three categories from this list — for example, winery, aromas, flavors — or create a simple rating scale so you know which bottles you’d rush to buy again. It’s all up to you!
To that end, there is plenty of room for creativity, whether that’s in mode or method. On the low-effort side, there are several apps that help people record and assess wines they encounter (Vivino, CellarTracker, Tipple). And if you’re going to go analog, the options only grow. Any notebook or binder will do, but we suggest something that’s compact and easy to tote from winery to wine shop. Several companies actually produce journals customized for oenophiles — we particularly like these ones from Moleskine and Wine Folly. (Wine Folly also makes an inexpensive, beautiful flavor wheel to help you up your adjective game.)
If you’re feeling crafty, use colored pencils or pens to beautify your journal. You can sketch images that correspond with flavors or doodle the glass shape. You can also use a cheap tool called a “label lift” to remove wine labels and adhere them to the pages.
With just a little work — and a whole lot of sipping — your wine journal will become a marvelous living document, there to bring you back to beloved bottles and inspire new horizons in your tasting adventures. Get tasting!