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!

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