Weekly Wine Quiz: Hard-Wired Wine Brains?

Vinted on March 1, 2013 binned in wine quiz

Welcome to the Weekly Wine Quiz!

This week, we’re finishing off the series of questions related to the research cited in Master of Wine Tim Hanni’s new book, Why You Like The Wines You Like (full disclosure: I received a review copy, and I am mentioned favorably therein). Hopefully these questions have tilted your view of some of the wine world’s long-standing (but potentially false!) prejudices in terms of how we view how we taste.

Hard-Wired Wine Brains?

True or False: People who taste wines often, such as sommeliers, may actually re-wire their brains to perceive wines differently from less frequent tasters?
A. True
B. False

Cheers – and good luck!





  • Jim

    that would be a true statement

  • martindredmond


  • @noblewines

    Yes, hence decline of Parker et al in importance.

    • 1WineDude

      @noblewines – I think Parker is still VERY important within the biz. Relevant for consumers, not as much as in the past, and declining no doubt, but still of huge importance for marketing, buying, etc…

  • Thomas Pellechia

    Well, yeah: "experience" does "rewire our brains."

    There's no limit to the extent that babble goes to be marketed.

    • 1WineDude

      Thomas – for sure we’re inundated with marketing, but I’m not in the camp that categorizes Tim’s work as marketing. There’s interesting science behind his approach, and if he stands to make more than a half-decent living through this stuff (never mind the shaking up that the wine biz sorely needs) then I’ll eat my shoes. With ketchup.

  • Thomas Pellechia

    Do you like your ketchup sweet or dry?

    Oh wait: you'll have to ask a scientist ;)

    • 1WineDude

      Thomas – :) That’s funny, but it’s not necessarily a valid criticism of Hanni’s work. At least, not as I’m interpreting it…

  • Thomas Pellechia


    To me, much of what is in the new book isn't really news; it's information that has been around for at least the past two or three decades, not to mention what brain science has been teaching us over that same period.

    The discoveries in the book are mainly apply to wine producers and their marketing programs to consumers, likening it to the way that food companies learn to manipulate products through salt, sugars, and fats to meet a "scientific" standard behind the human sensory equipment.

    Consumers can trust what they smell and taste, provided they are willing to trust themselves. But we have lost the talent for cognizant thought through personal curiosity in a culture dominated by praise of "experts" and "celebrities." We are easily manipulated.

    • 1WineDude

      Thomas – Yeah, Tim has told me that the book pulls together research that's been happening for the last 10+ years. I don't think that invalidates it in terms of applying it to the conventions under which we tend to operate when it comes to wine, unless there's reason to doubt the results of those studies cited, etc. I agree totally with your last paragraph, but would add that I think Tim's work actually helps remind us of it…

  • Thomas Pellechia


    My fear is that with wide4 application of the "science of taste," wine will become just another over-manipulated fast food and people's sensory perceptions will be that much more removed form their own bodies. It has happened with food, creating a host of physical as well as psychological ailments.

    • 1WineDude

      Thomas – fair point. I've always been on the side of “we will sort it out as humans” when it comes to finding the right balance between the scientific and the (for lack of a better term) the magical.

  • Thomas Pellechia


    Pollyanna ;)

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