How to describe wine

Lesson plan overview

This intermediate lesson is ideal for wine lovers and people who work in the hospitality industry (restaurants, hotels, shops) and need to describe and give advice to customers about wine. Students will learn useful vocabulary and phrases about the winemaking process, to talk about wine pairings and to describe wine and wine notes. Good lessons to combine this lesson with are “The surging sales of non-alcoholic drinks” and “Superfoods
The lesson starts with a few discussion questions about wine.
Functional language: students learn phrases to talk about wine pairings (e.g. pairs well with, gets along with,, plays well with). To practise, they are given different types of wine and different dishes and they are asked to talk about wine pairings. Here you can show this wine pairing chart to help students.
Next, students read about the winemaking process and complete with the correct stages.
Video: Students watch a video: How to Describe Wine | Wine Terminology and Tasting Notes to Pick a Wine You WILL Enjoy and take notes about basic terms used to describe wine (smooth, bold, tannic etc.). They look at different types of notes. After that they watch the second part of the video and answer 3 questions.
Speaking: students choose their favourite types of wine and describe it, using vocabulary from this lesson.
The conversation cards provide additional speaking practice and an opportunity to revise the target vocabulary from this lesson.

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Teacher’s lesson plan

Student’s worksheet

Student’s interactive PDF

Conversation cards PDF

Pre-class activities

To send the pre-class activities to your students, copy the link below.

Vocabulary matching


The first time you watch the video, pay special attention to the correct pronunciation of the following words:

There are certain elements of wine: there is sugar, acid, fruit, tannins and alcohol.
There’s fat, acid, salt, sweet, bitter and texture.
Hors d’oeuvres need a dry rosé.
If you have a dish like chicken piccata, pasta with tomato sauce or roasted fish with citrus ….
If you have food with a higher fat content, say a marbled ribeye steak, or a braised duck, or grilled sausages …
If you pair with a bold red wine, like a Syrah or a Cabernet, the tannins in that red wine really balance out the fat element.

Comprehension questions

In-class activities

Teacher’s lesson plan
Student’s worksheet

Conversation cards PDF

Student’s interactive PDF

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