The Australian Wine Research Institute (AWRI)

The Australian Wine Research Institute (AWRI)

Sensory Services


AWRI Commercial Services offers sensory services to wine producers and associates. Our expert sensory staff and sensory panels combined with our world-class facilities allow us to tailor a solution to your needs. One recent initiative at AWRI has been the development of the Pinot G style spectrum, which allows producers to communicate to their customers where their Pinot Gris/Grigio wine lies on a spectrum between crisp and luscious using a special icon on their bottle label.

Typical commercial sensory services performed include:

  • Quality Sensory Assessment
  • Difference test assessment
  • Descriptive analysis
  • Consumer preference studies

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.

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