Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Wine Tasting: Expectations Influence Sense Of Taste, Tests Show

Date:
September 14, 2009
Source:
ETH Zurich
Summary:
Wine tastes different to those who are given information on the product before a wine tasting, tests where the test people received information on the wine before and after the tasting have shown.

Wine tastes different to those who are given information on the product before a wine tasting, tests where the test people received information on the wine before and after the tasting have shown.
Credit: iStockphoto

Wine tastes different to those who are given information on the product before a wine tasting, tests where the test people received information on the wine before and after the tasting have shown.

Many a wine grower trembles at the prospect of a visit from Robert Parker, one of the most famous wine critics in the world. His “Parker Points” have a similar impact to the Roman Emperor’s thumb, deciding the success of a winery instead of life and death. The extent to which product information like Parker’s ratings influence the consumer is revealed in a study by Michael Siegrist, Professor of Consumer Behavior at the Institute for Environmental Decisions, and his post-doc Marie-Eve Cousin from ETH Zurich, which was published in the journal Appetite.

The two scientists wanted to find out how information of that type influences the sensory experience by testing their hypothesis that the wine critic’s opinion affects the sense of taste – and not just the rating.

Good and bad information

163 test people tasted the Argentinean red wine “Clos de Los Siete Mendoza” (2006), which Robert Parker had given 92 points out of 100 and thus had rated as an exceptional wine. The two scientists divided the subjects into five groups: one was told about Parker’s positive appraisal before the tasting; the second group also received the information beforehand, but was told that the wine had only scored 72 Parker Points and was thus average. Two more groups received the positive or negative information after they had tasted the wine but before they had rated it themselves. The final group was not given any information at all and served as the control group.

The test people, who tasted the wine separately, were asked to rate the wine on a 10-point scale, ranging from “didn’t like it at all” to “excellent”. They were also supposed to state how much they would be prepared to pay for the wine.

Advance information influences senses

The analysis of the test results revealed that the test people who had been given the ratings with 92 or 72 points before the tasting rated the wine differently to those who weren’t given the Parker rating until afterwards. In the first two groups, the test people who had been given negative information rated the wine considerably worse than those who proceeded on the assumption that the wine was good. Those who knew beforehand that the wine had been given 92 Parker Points also found the wine better than those who only discovered the rating after they had tried the wine.

The information not only influences the sense of taste, but also how deep we are prepared to dig into our wallets: again, the test people with negative advance information were prepared to pay the least.

The researchers feel their initial hypothesis has been confirmed and conclude that the opinions of wine critics do have an impact on a wine drinker’s sense of taste. Surprisingly, the subjects did not change their opinion if they received the information after tasting. “People therefore were not simply trying to show themselves in a good light; the information really did alter their sense of taste”, says Siegrist.

Praise the wine before drinking it

Psychosocial factors are bound to play a role: indeed, the scientists do not exclude the possibility that avid wine drinkers and connoisseurs might change their opinion, and therefore their rating, afterwards to save face. This issue should be examined in more detail in future studies. For now, however, the scientists have a practical tip for restaurants and hosts: always stress the quality of the wine before it is tasted!


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by ETH Zurich. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Siegrist et al. Expectations influence sensory experience in a wine tasting. Appetite, 2009; 52 (3): 762 DOI: 10.1016/j.appet.2009.02.002

Cite This Page:

ETH Zurich. "Wine Tasting: Expectations Influence Sense Of Taste, Tests Show." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 September 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090912124050.htm>.
ETH Zurich. (2009, September 14). Wine Tasting: Expectations Influence Sense Of Taste, Tests Show. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090912124050.htm
ETH Zurich. "Wine Tasting: Expectations Influence Sense Of Taste, Tests Show." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090912124050.htm (accessed August 1, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Friday, August 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Visitors Feel Part of the Pack at Wolf Preserve

Visitors Feel Part of the Pack at Wolf Preserve

AP (July 31, 2014) Seacrest Wolf Preserve on the northern Florida panhandle allows more than 10,000 visitors each year to get up close and personal with Arctic and British Columbian Wolves. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers

Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers

AP (July 31, 2014) With Florida's panther population rebounding, some ranchers complain the protected predators are once again killing their calves. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida

Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida

AP (July 31, 2014) Sarasota County, Florida health officials have issued a warning against eating raw oysters and exposing open wounds to coastal and inland waters after a dangerous bacteria killed one person and made another sick. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

AP (July 30, 2014) Thousands of people are trekking to a Bavarian farmer's field to check out a mysterious set of crop circles. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins