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The Difference Between a Vertical and Horizontal Tasting

While at the San Francisco Chronicle wine competition, I chatted with one of the pourers about specific types of wine tastings. Both of us were confused on the exact meaning of vertical vs. horizontal tastings. To clarify, I decided to look them up and share the terminology with you.

A horizontal tasting compares wines from the same year but from multiple producers. Usually a boundary is set on the type of grape, region, and wine style. For example, 2001 Zinfandel from Napa Valley or 2006 Chardonnay from Washington state. A horizontal tasting highlights the difference between wine-making styles.

A vertical tasting involves wine from the same producer but from multiple years, for example 2005, 2006, 2007 Pinot Noir from Mark West. A vertical tasting illustrates the difference between vintages.

Participating in both types are a great way to learn about wine. Have you ever engaged in a horizontal or vertical wine tasting? Please share your experience with us below!


milosmommy milosmommy 8 years
Never knew that. Thanks for sharing. :) Either way sounds like fun to me.
aimeeb aimeeb 8 years
I had no idea.
gigill gigill 8 years
Very interesting. Thanks for this!
YIPPEE AND YUMMY FOR US WINE LOVERS!! it is all about learning and tasting! so much to indulge in,,,, but FUN!
kscincotta kscincotta 8 years
My wine club (which is sadly now defunct) was structured along the lines of a horizontal tasting. We set our limits a little more broadly, though. I would love to have more time to do both types - it really is a great way to learn about wines!
nancita nancita 8 years
Wow, I had no idea there were even two kinds. Thanks!
fuzzles fuzzles 8 years
I was thinking that a vertical tasting would be one glass of wine while standing up. A horizontal tasting would be one's position after that third glass.
Modus-Vivendi Modus-Vivendi 8 years
Neat! I'd never even heard of that.
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