Wine Tasting Tips: How To Wine Taste Like A Pro

Wine Tasting Tips: How To Wine Taste Like A Pro

Check out these tips for your next wine tasting!

Tasting a glass of wine invokes almost all the senses. First, you must look at the wine’s color, then you must smell the wine, and then you taste the wine. While the process may seem easy enough, tasting a wine properly significantly improves your enjoyment of the wine.  Check out these tips to help your taste wine like a pro.


For proper wine tasting, be sure that your glass is filled one-third of the way full. Be sure to look at your wine from all angles. Start by looking straight down into the glass. Tilt it from side to side so that you can see a full range of color. The color indicates the density and saturation of the wine in addition to the type of wine. Next, check out the side view, look at the wine through the side of the glass. As you look at the wine you’re testing its clarity. A murky wine may indicate issues with the fermentation process.


When it comes to smells, you’re evaluating the quality of the wine as well as the subtle hints that come from the wine’s environment. As you sniff your wine make sure to check for any “off” smells that indicate that a wine has spoiled. Grapes pick up scents and flavors from their environment. You may get a floral or earthy scent depending on where the grapes were grown. Additionally, the barrels in which the wine is aged have an affect on the smell and flavor. Pay careful attention to these hidden aromas when sniffing your glass of wine.


Be sure to sip your wine so that you can really taste its flavor. Pay attention to each individual flavor. Your wine should be balanced in flavor so that one flavor isn’t over powering another, yet all the flavors should blend together harmoniously. Additionally, pay attention to the complexities of the wine. You should be able to taste hints of each flavor that have been layered upon one another.

Taste wine like a pro, and be sure to check out your local wineries in Ventura County, California. They offer the best tastings in the area. Contact Ventura County Winery Association today!

Dessert Wine Gelees Recipe!

Wine Gelees with Citrus Fruit

Enjoy dessert and wine together with this recipe! What’s not to love?

This recipe is perfect for a fancy get-together or a dinner party! These sangria-inspired gelees are infused with sweet wines and subtle citrus flavors. They will impress any sophisticated palates!


  • 5 tablespoons cold water
  • 3 packages unflavored gelatin
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup orange Muscat dessert wine
  • 1 1/4 cups Sauternes or similar sweet wine
  • 1 each grapefruit, blood orange, navel orange, tangerine, and Meyer lemon


Combine 5 tablespoons cold water and gelatin in a bowl. Let stand 5 minutes.

Combine sugar, 1/2 cup water, and wines in a saucepan over medium heat. Simmer until sugar has dissolved. Add gelatin mixture, and whisk until melted. Cook 1 minute. Remove from heat, and pour through a fine sieve into a 9-by-13-inch glass baking dish. Let cool completely.

Cut peel and pith from citrus. Cut each segment from membranes, then cut horizontally into 1/8- to 1/4-inch-thick slices (you will need 1 cup). Arrange in a single layer over gelatin mixture. Refrigerate, uncovered, overnight.

To unmold, run a knife around edge of dish. Using an offset spatula, gently coax gelatin from sides. Invert and turn out onto a cutting board. Trim edges, and cut into 1 1/4-inch squares. Serve immediately, or refrigerate, uncovered, up to 1 day.

From all of us at Ventura County Winery Association, we hope that you enjoyed making and tasting these delicious dessert wine bites! Contact us today to schedule a wine tour to enjoy multiple of our local wineries and view the the most beautiful scenery in the area! We host a fantastic variety of wines for every palate to enjoy!

Winery Highlight: Sunland Vintage Winery

winery highlight

Enjoy this fantastic, local winery with only the best, fine wines!

Sunland Vintage Winery, located on Thousand Oaks Blvd, features a charming, rustic tasting room. As a local winery of the Ventura County Winery Association, they feature a multitude of wines that are some of the finest wines around. Sunland Vintage Winery proudly present two Sunland Vintage Brands: Giovinazzo Wines, as a taste of Italy in your own back garden, and SVI to suit refined wine palates. The unique varietals that they produce includes Nebbiolo, Montepulciano, and Dolcetto, along with special proprietary blends: Tre Ragazzi, Delicate Princes, and The Goddess. At this tasting room there is a blend to suit everyone!

Wine Club

Sunland Vintage wine club, what they call the “Turf Club,” features a membership which includes Owner’s Privileges that have been created, such as four complimentary wine tastings a year, twelve bottles of wine annually, along with a 20% discount which is effective immediately!

Weekday Fun

On Thursday’s they celebrate Tantalizing Thursdays in where they will have a food truck event on the first and third Thursday of every month, along with $5 glasses of wine! Be sure not to miss their surprise Friday events which promise great wine, good friends, and entertainment! Following up the weekdays is Wacky Wine Weekends! You never know what wild and wacky stories Mike will share on Saturdays and Sundays in the Tasting Room. Don’t miss the fun!

Private Events

The tasting room can be private for an event upon request. Sunland Vintage Winery can host everything from anniversaries, birthdays, corporate meetings, to fundraisers, to a get-together just because! If you would like your special event at the tasting room, be sure to ask for Debby!

We hope that you enjoy wine tasting at Sunland Vintage Winery, a winery of Ventura County Winery Association. Be sure to check out our other wineries in the Ventura County area, or contact us to book a Wine Tour that will allow you to enjoy multiple winery locations and experience the breath-taking scenery of the area!

Authentic Italian Food: Olio Pizzeria in Westlake Village

Olio Pizzeria

Olio Pizzeria located in Westlake Village offers true Italian food

‘Where taste and pleasure meet’

Olio Pizzeria is inspired by the countless boutique, neighborhood pizzerias and wine bars located in Italy. Often located on every street, these unique bistros create the Italian feel of fresh ingredients, good food, and a welcoming environment. Drawing inspiration from artistic Italian food with a hint of contemporary, and all of Italy’s regions, Olio Pizzeria brings authentic Italy to Westlake Village. Serving true Italian pizza, select salami and fine cheeses, artisanal Italian beers, wine, and signature cocktails.

Located next to Olio e Limone Ristorante, the fine dining sister restaurant on Russell Ranch Road, Westlake Village, the charming Olio Pizzeria focuses on exceptional food for every guest. Do not miss the squid ink calamari appetizers, or umbra pizza, along with a selection of fine coastal wines, Olio will submerse you in Italian dining that will not disappoint!

Olio Pizzeria ticks all the boxes!

Be sure to check out Olio Pizzeria, along with our Alma Sol micro-boutique winery which can be found on Thousand Oaks Boulevard. Here at the Ventura County Winery Association, we focus on producing stellar wines in a casual, urban setting. Contact us directly or explore our wineries!

Don’t Miss The Ventura County Fair!

Ventura County FairFrom August 5th -16th, the “Country Fair with Ocean Air” will take place in the fairgrounds, and is set to be an event not to be missed!

For twelve days, the fair will be host to a variety of performances, exhibitors, shows, food stalls, and rides. There is so much to do at the festival that passes for all twelve days are being sold – quickly!

The Ventura County Fair is hosting free concerts with paid fair admission. The live entertainment ranges from country, Hispanic, R&B, and rock bands so there is music for everyone to enjoy! A few of the confirmed acts so far are Montgomery Gentry, Huey Lewis and the News, Dia de la Familia Concert, LeAnn Rimes, Kevin Costner and Modern West, and Salt-N-Pepa.

Amongst all of the other festivities at the fair, visitors will also be able to visit the farm animals in the Livestock Centre. This adds a country feel to the fairgrounds as the guests can view the animals in the safe, clean, and welcoming environment whilst asking the volunteers and exhibitors any questions about the livestock, agriculture, and center.

The exhibitors are aimed to impress the daily visitors! The categories include amateur art, floriculture, gems and minerals, hobbies and collections, home arts, horse shows, photography, professional art, small livestock, as well as Uncle Leo’s barn and Youth Expo. Be sure to check out all of the booths!

On the morning of August 8th in Downtown Ventura, the high school marching bands, classic cars, horses, clowns, dancers, and school groups will take over Downtown Ventura in the true highlight of the fair, the Annual Ventura County Fair Parade. Before this, the 5K & 1-Mile Run & Walk participants will race down Main Street – with most participants in costume!

We, the Ventura County Winery Association, hope that all attendees of the Ventura County Fair enjoy themselves, and don’t forget to stop by one of our local wineries near the fairgrounds! Visit us for spectacular wines, wine tours and more information!

Top 10 Wines Under $20

Top 20 Wines Under $20Deliciously Inexpensive Wines To Try

Sometimes you just want to sip on a decadent glass of wine without having to attend a wine tasting at a winery or fork over $100 for a nice bottle. We have gathered a list of the top 10 wines under $20 so that you can stock your wine fridge and wine cellar with delicious wines that don’t break the bank:

  1. Le Bombarde, Cannonau Di Sardegna; Italy; $14.99 – This deliciously inexpensive wine that tastes a little like blackberry jam pairs perfectly with marinated grilled meats.
  2. Andezon, Cotes-du-Rhone Syrah; France; $12.99 – This light red wine has a hint of blackberry and pairs amazingly with lightly spicy dishes.
  3. Chateau De Bonhoste, Bordeaux Blanc; France; $11.99 – This amazing wine is extremely food-friendly, meaning you can sip on this light, cheerful white any time of day!
  4. Ocone, Falanghina Del Taburno; Italy; $15.99 – Who doesn’t love a decadent wine that has hints of flower, orange, and peach without an overwhelmingly sweet taste?
  5. Lacryma Christi Del Vesuvio, Mastroberardino; Italy; $17.99 – With hints of blackberry and boysenberry, this Italian wine likes to stay close to home by being paired with Italian dishes.
  6. Marco Felluga, Pinot Grigio; Italy; $14.99 – Full of citrus and tropical fruit flavors, this Pinot Grigio pairs perfectly with light seafood dishes and fresh mozzarella.
  7. Plata, Torrontes; Argentina; $9.99 – When you sip on this complex white, you will experience touches of yellow-fleshed plums and fresh flowers, in addition to peppers and spice!
  8. Porca De Murca, Douro; Portugal; $5.99 – This inexpensive wine is an absolute steal! Each sip tastes like a fresh, ripe cherry with earthy, smooth underlying tones.
  9. Villa Maria, Sauvignon Blanc; New Zealand; $11.99 – This white goes perfect with everything. The tartness comes from pineapples and grapefruits.
  10. Llama, Malbec; Argentina; $11.99 – Take a whiff of this aromatic wine and smell the sweet spices, violets, and roasted coffee beans. However, once you take a sip you will taste the violet candy, toasted oak, and bursts of blackberry.

Contact the Ventura County Winery Association to schedule a wine tour to go wine tasting at one of our multiple featured Ventura County wineries. For more information about great opportunities for wine lovers to gather in Ventura County, contact the Ventura County Winery Association. We keep our finger on the pulse of all of the local wine-related happenings so we can keep you looped in on the fun!

Champagne Vs. Sparkling Wine Vs. Prosecco

Champagne vs Sparkling WineUnderstanding Different Sparkling Wines

Many people who love indulging in bubbly have no idea what the difference is between champagne, sparkling wine and prosecco. If you assumed this was simply another name for the same thing, you are incorrect. The name of a specific type of bubbly is actually dependent on the region in which the grapes were grown and harvested.

The short and sweet answer to what the difference is between champagne and sparkling wine is that sparkling wine can only be called champagne if the grapes come from the region of Champagne, France. This sparkling city sits right outside of Paris, and turns Chardonnays, Pinot Noirs, and Pinot Meuniers into Champagne. It may seem confusing but all champagne is considered sparkling wine, although this statement is not true vice versa.

The same goes when questioning why Prosecco is a sparkling wine but a sparkling wine cannot be a Prosecco. Prosecco is always made from the Italian grape, Glera and can only be grown and harvested in the Veneto region of northeast Italy.

We recommend tasting these three bubblies side by side and taking notes to help you notice the differences more clearly:

  • La Marca Prosecco; $11.99 – With hints of honeysuckle, white peach, and apple, the pleasant acidity of this sparkling wine will help you notice the unique aromas.
  • Chandon Brut Classic; $15.99 – You can experience the complexities of a true champagne by indulging in this sparkling wine that has complex hints of citrus spice, pear and apple.
  • Jacob’s Creek Sparkling Wine; $9.99 – Once you have tasted the sparkling wines from Italy and France, take a moment to indulge in an Australian sparkling wine. See if you can tell the difference in the complexity of the wine!

Contact the Ventura County Winery Association to schedule a wine tour to go wine tasting at one of our multiple featured Ventura County local wineries. For more information about great opportunities for wine lovers to gather in Ventura County, contact the Ventura County Winery Association. We keep our finger on the pulse of all of the local wine-related happenings so we can keep you looped in on the fun!

4th Annual California Honey Harvest Festival in Fillmore

4th Annual California Honey Harvest Festival in FillmoreDon’t Miss This Event Where You Can Enjoy Honey All Day Long!

The 4th Annual California Honey Harvest Festival in Fillmore is taking place on Saturday, June 13th and is an event you will not want to miss! The fun begins at 9:00 a.m. and carries on until 5:00 p.m. There will be a train tour, arts and crafts, food vendors, live entertainment and music, educational beekeeping speakers, and a BBQ contest! If you would like to jump on the Fillmore Train Ride and enjoy Bennett’s Honey Farm Tour, it will be $20 for adults, $25 for seniors, $15 for children ages 4 through 12, $10 for children ages 2-3 and free for children under 2 that are sitting on an adult’s lap. This event directly supports the national nonprofit organization, Autism Speaks.

We want you to enjoy the Honey Harvest Festival to the fullest, which is why we have also gathered a list of benefits that honey yields.

Benefits of Honey:

  • If you have any pesky allergies, indulging in honey may relieve some of your most bothersome allergies!
  • Honey can also help to boost your immune system! This is because organic, raw honey is full of enzymes, minerals, and vitamins that actually act as a front line of defense against bacteria.
  • Looking for an energy boost? Try honey! You can mix it with your water for a coffee substitute.
  • Honey also has detoxing capabilities! If honey can help to flush out toxins from your body, why would you spend a week struggling to complete a juice detox?

Contact the Ventura County Winery Association to schedule a wine tour to go wine tasting at one of our multiple featured Ventura County wineries. For more information about great opportunities for wine lovers to gather in Ventura County, contact the Ventura County Winery Association. We keep our finger on the pulse of all of the local wine-related happenings so we can keep you looped in on the fun!

Practice Makes Perfect: Wine Tasting For Beginners

A Beginner's Guide to WineTips For Impressing Your Wine Connoisseur Friends

Looking to impress your friends at your next gathering and look like a wino? If you are not yet a wine connoisseur, it is important that you do a little practice before you head over to your gathering. We are not suggesting chugging a bottle of different types of wine, but rather, simply using a beginner’s guide to wine to learn a few key components of wine tasting.

A Beginner’s Guide To Wine:

  • There are three main components of wine tasting, with the first being sight. As a novice to wine tasting, you may be surprised to learn that the hue of the wine will determine the intensity of the flavors you will experience with each sip. Some wines are transparent or opaque in sight, whereas others have a light rim and dark core.
  • The second main component of wine tasting is smell. Known as the bouquet of the wine to sommeliers, you are not truly wine tasting if you do not allow your olfactory senses to have some fun as well. It is recommended that you open the wine bottle and decant it about 30 minutes before tasting, especially for red wines. When tasting, swirl the wine to aerate it and release the aromas. Then, smell before taking your first sip.
  • The final and most important component of wine tasting is the taste. One you have decanted, swirled, and sniffed, it is finally time to sip. Take small sips so that you can make a first impression and then experience the evolution of the wine.

Contact the Ventura County Winery Association to schedule a wine tour to go wine tasting at one of our multiple featured Ventura County wineries. For more information about great opportunities for wine lovers to gather in Ventura County, contact the Ventura County Winery Association. We keep our finger on the pulse of all of the local wine-related happenings so we can keep you looped in on the fun!

Mark Your Calendar For The California Jazz & Wine Fest

California Jazz & Wine Fest

Local Event Celebrates Wine, Food, & Music

You absolutely love going wine tasting, but it does present one serious problem: who will sit out and drive you around? Playing designated driver on a day of wine tasting is a necessary evil, ensuring that everyone else is able to enjoy the day without posing a hazard to others on the road.

Fortunately, there is an upcoming local event that will offer you the opportunity to sample pours from local wineries without ever having to undergo the inconvenience of getting behind the wheel. Mark your calendar for May 17th, because on that day the Rotary Club of Westlake Village Sunrise will be hosting the California Jazz & Wine Fest at the Thousand Oaks Community Park!

One of the premiere local events, this festival offers attendees the opportunity enjoy wines from local vineyards like Sunland Vintage, Panaro Brothers, Navarro Vineyards, and Fess Parker Winery & Vineyard. For those who would prefer an alternate libation, there will also be beers from local breweries and boutique spirits available. Do not worry that you will need to do all of this tasting on an empty stomach, either. A handful of gourmet local food trucks will be offering their wares at the event.

The food and drink will be complemented by great live music, including tunes by Grammy-nominated Gordon Goodwin’s Big Phat Band. To support your local community and enjoy an afternoon of great wine, great food, and great music, you can grab your ticket online here.

We look forward to seeing you there! For more information about other great opportunities for wine lovers to gather in Ventura County, contact the Ventura County Winery Association. We keep our finger on the pulse of all of the local wine-related happenings to we can keep you looped in on the fun!

All Rights Reserved. ©2018. Ventura County Winery Association.
Customized & Managed by Stratosphere Marketing Solutions.