Characterising Wine

One day course

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Characterising Wine: Characterising flavour, balance, acidity and complexity in wine

Course content

WineGB’s recent Training and Education survey ranked sensory evaluation within the top training needs, reflecting the increasing number of English and Welsh wines being entered for awards. But how do wine judges evaluate these characteristics in a sparkling wine?

This course will bring you the theory of sensory analysis, with a focus on wine characteristics, followed by a practical application through a tutored tasting.

Plumpton College’s Dr Heber Rodrigues (sensory scientist)) will provide the sensory training, looking at acidity, balance and complexity in wine. Sarah Midgely (winemaker) will provide the winemaking insight.

Simon Stockton is a Champagne & Sparkling World Wine Competition judge and Heidsieck Champagne Brand Ambassador. Simon will guide you through a tasting, explaining the process of judging a wine based on these characteristics.  

Sensory science is a rapidly developing scientific field and Dr Rodrigues, excited by all of the opportunities to explore English & Welsh wines, suggests that “Sensory science combines the measurement, interpretation and understanding of human responses to wine across all the senses, viz. smell, taste, touch and hearing”.

Course contents:

Sensory training with Dr Heber Rodrigues & Sarah Midgley

Guided wine tasting with Simon Stockton & Dr Heber Rodrigues, followed by Q&A session


Undertake expert sensory training with Plumpton Colleges’ sensory analysis expert Dr Heber Rodrigues and winemaker Sarah Midgley. Then apply these skills to a wine tasting guided by Simon Stockton, Associate Judge CSWWC and Charles Heidsieck UK Champagne Ambassador.


By the end of this course students will be able to: 

  • Define acidity in wine 
  • Describe flavour in wine 
  • Understand the concept of ‘balance’ in wine 
  • Examine complexity in wine 
  • Assess the flavour, balance, acidity and complexity of finished sparkling wines 

Course details

Dates & Location

Bolney Wine Estate, Foxhole Lane, Bolney, Haywards Heath RH17 5NB


9:30 – 16:00


£95 - lunch included (any dietary requirements to be communicated at least one week in advance of event)

Entry Requirements

Over 18 years old

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