How many times have you been to a wine tasting or even just had wine at home and someone says “Wow, this smells like cherries!” but in your mind you are thinking it smells like oil? Who’s right? Does the wine even smell like cherries or oil? Maybe it smells like roses? Well, maybe both of you are right or maybe both of you are wrong. Did you know there are almost 1000 genes in your body that are dedicated for detecting smells? Based on genetic variation you can smell something completely different than the person next to you.

So how do you know if the professionals are right? Well, professional wine tasters actually take classes on detecting smells. Usually a scent is poured into a sterilized glass and the wine tasters start to train their nose to recognize certain smells. If you have ever seen a professional wine taster during a tasting, they usually have their nose as far into the glass as possible. This is to minimize the other smells that may be in the air (for example, perfume, food, or other odors).

If you would like to start training your nose, I highly recommend trying to smell different fruits, vegetables, flowers and even some of the bad odors like wet dog, gasoline and oil. The more scents you grow accustom to, the better your accuracy will be when attending a wine tasting.

But keep in mind that even your nose can be overwhelmed by smells. In order to help your nose focus on one smell, wine tasters recommend that you smell the top of your arm between your elbow and wrist. Since you are used to your bodily smells, this is sort of a “reset” button for your nose and helps your nose refocus on the next smell.


Amanda is the Co-Owner of Candlelight Winery located at 11325 Center Road, Garrettsville. For more gift ideas or wine lists from the winery, please visit