Vertical and Horizontal Tasting


Okay, no groaning – this isn’t a geometry lesson!

Every wine lover should learn these two terms and how they relate to wine: vertical tasting & horizontal tasting.

A vertical tasting comprises wines made of the same varietal from the same winery over several years.  The purpose of a vertical tasting is to see how a winery’s particular varietal develops and ages over the years.

At the Wine Appreciation Class earlier this year we tasted the 1996, 2000, 2001, and 2002 Paulo Bordeaux Style Blend wines from our Messina Hof library.

A horizontal tasting comprises wines made of the same varietal from the same vintage year from several wineries.  The purpose of a horizontal tasting is to see how different wineries produce the same variety of wine during a selected year – you can really begin to see the difference of each winemaker’s style.

Another fun way to do horizontal tasting is by choosing wines from the same winery but made in different styles.

For example, if you wanted to do a Messina Hof horizontal, you could select a wine from the same vintage year from each of our different lines of wine, such as: Barrel Reserve Shiraz, Private Reserve Shiraz & Paulo Shiraz.  This will give you an idea of how the different barrel & bottle aging techniques really affect how a wine tastes and the versatility of the winemaker.

To create your own Messina Hof vertical or horizontal from our library of older wines, visit our online shopping cart at and look under Limited Supply.