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Episode 21 | Richard Duval captures the heart of Northwest Wine Country

Richard Duval, Duval ImagesRichard Duval, Duval Images

In this episode of Decanted, we interview Richard Duval, who has become one of the most well-renowned photographers in the Washington wine scene. He recalls his adventures in some of the most awe-inspiring vineyards in our state, offers practical photography advice and lists his picks of the most scenic wine destinations.

Richard’s work is frequently found in Great Northwest Wine, Wine Press Northwest, Sean Sullivan’s Washington Wine Report, Wine Business Monthly, Good Fruit Grower, Wine Enthusiast, Wine Spectator and numerous blogs, wine sites and books. His images are used extensively in wine marketing guides for Walla Walla, Woodinville, Yakima Valley, Cascade Valley, the Columbia River Gorge and Red Mountain regions, the annual Washington Wine Guide, and he stages the “Art from the Vine” fine art exhibit in wine venues around Washington—well, you get the picture of Richard’s reach into Washington’s wine and art circles.

Learn more about Duval Images

Systematic Approach to Tasting Wine ®

We’ve mostly relied upon second-hand knowledge and gut instincts about how to react to the wines we’ve been served, which always kind of left us feeling like we were missing something. Over time, we’ve developed a palate by trial and error.

Learning the Systematic Approach helped us learn how to analyze the merits of a wine, regardless of what the winery, wine critics or other tasters think. This approach, we feel, will up your game and broaden your horizons through the understanding of BALANCE of certain criteria. Great wines have a good balance between acid and body, otherwise known as sweetness, which results in a superior wine. Too much acid and the wine becomes austere, too much sweetness or residual sugar and the wine becomes boring or “flabby.” In addition, a good structure with quality fruit and tannins (for reds) plays into creating a complex wine with different flavors activating your brain.

The Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET) Level 2 Systematic Approach to Tasting Wine is broken down into four basic categories, each with characteristics to analyze:


  1. Clarity: clear or hazy?
  2. Intensity: pale, medium or deep?
  3. Color: White—lemon, gold or amber? Rosé—pink, salmon or orange? Red—Purple, ruby, garnet or tawny?


  1. Condition: clean or unclean?
  2. Intensity: light, medium or pronounced?
  3. Aroma characteristics: e.g. fruits, floral, vegetal, spices, oak, earth, etc? Try and find 3 characteristics.


  1. Sweetness: dry, off-dry, medium or sweet? Tip: Tasting fruit doesn’t mean it’s sweet.
  2. Acidity: low, medium or high? Is your mouth watering?
  3. Tannin: low, medium or high? Is your mouth drying out?
  4. Body: light, medium or full? Is it silky?
  5. Flavor characteristics: e.g. fruits, floral, vegetal, spices, oak flavors, smoke, meaty, etc?
  6. Finish: short, medium or long? Tip:


  1. Quality: faulty, poor, acceptable, good, very good or outstanding?

We walk you through this system and their sub-categories along with two tastings.

Learn more about the Wine & Spirits Education Trust WSET Global

Real Wine Alliance

This episode is sponsored by Real Wine Alliance. With over 100 years of combined winery expertise, they supercharge wineries with distribution, direct to consumer, marketing, branding, web development, eCommerce, photography and awesome events!

Supercharge Your Winery

Images courtesy and copyright of Richard Duval Images.

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