Publisher Summary As befits one of life's finest pleasures, wine deserves serious attention. Nevertheless, no wine tasting procedure has achieved universal acceptance. Most experienced wine tasters have their own sequence of steps they follow. Although essential for critical tasting, these steps are too detailed for the dinner table. The difference is equivalent to the gulf that separates the analysis and enjoyment of music. Critical tasting compares one or several wines against a real or theoretical standard. Wine with a meal is intended to be savored as liquid refreshment. This chapter explains that critical wine assessment is ill designed for the dining room, because of distractions of conversation and the interference of food flavors; the concentration involved in wine analysis can greatly enhance appreciation. Most wines are best sampled in clear, tulip-shaped goblets. The primary exception involves sparkling wines. These are better judged in elongated, flute-shaped glasses. They facilitate observation of the wine's effervescence. All glasses in a tasting should be identical and filled to the same level. This permits each wine to be sampled under equivalent conditions, between 30 and 50 ml is adequate for most analyses. Not only are small volumes economic, but also they facilitate holding the wine at a steep angle and vigorous swirling.