Sensory services

AWRI Commercial Services offers a range of sensory services. Expert sensory staff and highly trained sensory panels combined with world-class facilities allow solutions to be tailored to suit client needs.

Typical commercial sensory services performed include:

  • Quality sensory assessment
  • Difference test assessment
  • Descriptive analysis
  • Consumer preference studies
  • Smoke sensory evaluation

A brief summary of each of these techniques is provided below. For specific information on suitability, pricing and volumes required on all sensory services please call us on (08) 8313 6600 or email

Quality sensory assessment
This sensory service is offered to allow an independent, dispassionate evaluation of a wine’s attributes, indication of quality level and presence of off-flavours. Further information, including volumes required and pricing can be found here.

Consumer preference
Consumer testing, measuring liking for a set of wines using selected but untrained individuals, allows an understanding of the influence of sensory properties on acceptance. A relatively large group of consumers from outside the AWRI is recruited based on demographic and wine consumption criteria and rating for degree of liking is carried out under controlled conditions. Our experienced team even has the ability to run consumer testing in international markets.

Difference test assessment
When there is a question as to whether two wines are detectably different in their sensory characteristics, a difference test procedure such as a duo-trio, triangle, or paired comparison test can be carried out. These sensitive tests using a large panel of judges are normally undertaken when there may be a subtle difference between two wines. These differences might not be detected from other sensory tests, and may, for example, be due to an effect of a winemaking procedure on two lots of wine, differences in storage conditions, or when a batch of wine is thought to have developed a taint or off-flavour, especially when a control is available.

Both the triangle test and the duo-trio test involve a judge selecting one sample from three that is different. Which test is recommended will depend on the sample type and nature of the potential difference. A paired comparison test can be used when there is a known characteristic to be tested, for example level of bitterness or intensity of mercaptan aroma. The judge is asked which of two coded samples is perceived to be higher in the specified character.

This type of test can be useful to carry out after an initial technical quality evaluation.

Descriptive analysis
The powerful method of descriptive analysis produces a sensory profile for a set of wines from replicated scoring of a set of attributes by a panel of sensitive and trained judges. Sensory profiles are highly valuable in applications such as shelf life or storage studies; comparison of a set of treatments, especially with a standard, or to relate a wines’ perceived attributes to instrumental measures or consumer preference. Of the sensory procedures offered, this type of test is the most complex to conduct and provides the greatest amount of quantitative information.

Smoke sensory evaluation
To assess whether a wine has a perceptible bushfire-related smoke character, a specialised screened, qualified and trained smoke sensory panel rates the intensity of smoke attributes in a submitted wine in duplicate. The results are analysed statistically in comparison to an unaffected control wine. It is recommended that this sensory evaluation be accompanied by chemical analysis of the wine to determine the concentration of volatile phenols and non-volatile precursor compounds (glycosides). This assists with the interpretation of any perceived smoke-related sensory attributes.

Please provide one 750mL bottle each for chemical and sensory evaluation, along with a single 750mL bottle of an appropriate reference (control) wine, if available.