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Wine Tasting Tips Newsletter May 2018--Misunderstood science, green aromas, and design
May 23, 2018

Issue #8 - May 2018

I am so happy to share this issue of Wine Tasting Tips with you today. I plan to take you through a sensory journey inspired by recent publications and a visit to an interesting exhibit.

Here is what you will find in this issue:

  • Misunderstood Science?
  • Deep dive on Green aromas
  • The senses: Design beyond Vision, an exhibit not to be missed
  • Other News
  • Wine Tools for Dads and new Grads

  • Misunderstood Science?

    You may have read this article published in Drink Business on May 14, entitled "Women considered more discerning tasters, finds study"

    I was dismayed on how the results of a scientific publication can be so misinterpreted. The conclusions of this paper is not that women have more of a discerning taste, but that they are able to differentiate wines in more groups than men could, and based on emotional attributes, and not based on their superior acute tasting abilities.

    That’s why I always like to read the source of these sensationalist articles. Which I did.

    Here what the actual paper was about.

    The authors wanted to investigate (1) the possible relationships between emotions and sensory characteristics of wines and (2) the differences in emotional responses by gender and age groups.

    Six commercial wines were profiled by a trained descriptive panel. 208 monthly wine consumers were recruited from the University campus. Their task for each wine presented blind was to (1) indicate how much they liked it on a 9 point hedonic scale and to (2) rate the importance of 26 emotions associated to their experience with this particular wine.

    The authors found interesting associations between the wine sensory characteristics and the emotions felt by the consumers. These relations may not be causal as I suspect the consumer liking scores were more correlated to the emotional attributes than the actual sensory attributes. In other words, when consumers liked a wine they likely associated positive emotions than when they did not like it. This is suggested by their findings that vanilla was correlated to negative emotions. In fact, the authors wrote that negative emotions were correlated to aged wines, which happened to be intense in vanilla, clove and licorice. Vanilla is usually a positive attribute, that's why I was surprised.

    The lesson of this whole story is that catchy titles of news articles can be very misleading. I won’t go as far as classifying this article in The Drink Business as fake news, maybe just misguiding news.

    The original article is referenced below: Emotional response to wine: Sensory properties, age and gender as drivers of consumers’ preferences .

    by M. Mora, E. Urdaneta, and C. Chaya, published in Food Quality and Preference 66 (2018) 19–28.

    Deep dive on Green aromas

    Former colleague Dr. Gary Pickering from Brock University and collaborators have led significant work to understand and mitigate the off-flavors due to the multi-colored Asian lady beetle in wine. This cute insect was used as a “green pesticide” to nourish on aphids in soybean fields. However once soy was harvested, the hungry beetles turned to the nearby vineyards and enjoyed sucking on ripening grapes. When crushed with the grape clusters, the beetles release a stinky aroma associated with bell pepper and peanut butter. The sad part was that the wine was eventually contaminated. Since the first infestations in the early 2000s, the industry supported by academia has found several ways to mitigate the risk of wine contamination by the beetles. This article published in Wines and Vines describes the knowledge academics have garnered over the years on these unpleasant green aromas.

    Read more Managing Green Flavors in the Winery

    More on wine aromas

    This article by Julien Miquel might also be of your interest. Top 100 Aromas in Wine – A to Z

    The Senses: Design beyond Vision, an exhibit not to be missed

    Have you ever considered integrating other senses beyond vision in your interior design?

    You probably have used some home fragrances to cover up unpleasant smells or to set you up in a relaxing mood; what about sound and texture?

    I highly recommend visiting the exhibit “The Senses: Design Beyond Vision” at the Cooper Hewitt Museum of Design to get some inspiration. It's a worthwhile visit for everyone interested in learning more about their five senses.

    Read More

    Other News

    Our website is now secured. I can't thank enough the professionals at SBI for their help in making this daunting task a smooth ride. SBI:Solo Build It

    Wine Tools for Dads and new Grads

    As a subscriber of Wine Tasting Tips, Wine Awakenings offer you a 10% discount on any of their 12 aroma kits

    Use the discount code IL01 when purchasing a 12 wine aroma kit online.
    If you are keen on the Master series, please contact directly Rita by e-mail to get your discount.

    This is a great gift for Dad and all the new graduates in age of appreciating wine.

    The Wine Aroma kit includes one Wine Aroma Wheel. Order more aroma wheels and host a wine tasting party here.

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