All posts filed under: sensory science

In Pursuit of Sensory Literacy

When Sonoma’s La Crema Winery turned 40 last year, it celebrated the milestone with a unique exercise: Led by Dr. Henry “Hoby” Wedler, it was easily one of my top sensory experiences of 2019.

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The bitter truth

According to neuroscientist Camilla Arndal Andersen, how consumers describe the taste of food can be misleading largely due to inherent biases. Among the most problematic is the “courtesy bias,” which comes into play when people respond with what they see as a socially acceptable opinion that doesn’t accurately reflect how they feel. There’s also the “bias blind spot,” in which we think we’re less biased than others. In short, we’re biased about our biases.

Falling hard for Petrichor

INTERPRETING OUR ATTRACTION TO THE SMELL OF WET ROCKS

Wine 123: Causation and Detection of Wine Defects Offered at Santa Rosa JC

I’ll be teaching Wine 123: Causation and Detection of Wine Defects at Santa Rosa JC next semester (Spring 2020). Check out our video courtesy of the Distance Learning department’s Emily Hansen –

Thinking in Smell

Of the five senses, smell in Western culture has gotten a bad rap. In the English language there are fewer positive equivalents for the sense of smell than there are for the other four senses. You might sniff out a deal or smell a rat but the terms for nose in our vocabulary particularly as they relate to wine are more often than not derogatory (snobby, snooty, snotty, etc.).

The Multitasking Tongue

Although we understand the physiology of the olfactory epithelium, the organ where volatile aroma compounds are converted in to the electrochemical signals that we perceive as aromas, smell or olfaction is still largely a mystery. For example, we have 400 types of olfactory receptors but we don’t know which volatile aroma compounds activate the majority of them.

Spring vegetables present unique wine-pairing challenges

It seems a Ph.D. in organic chemistry is necessary to fully understand the
issue, but wine science educator Deborah Parker Wong can provide some insight into what happens when certain vegetables meet the palate.

The Not-So-Great Divide

A recent study conducted at jointly at Penn State University and the University of California Davis illustrates significant differences in what consumers and self-described wine experts find likeable in wine.

The wines in question were six pairs of unoaked Chardonnay that had been doctored with increasing amounts of the compound – methyl anthralinate (MA) – that gives some native American vitis labruscana grape varieties their “grapey-ness.”  

Are you experienced?

The odor of wet dog isn’t exactly something we want to detect in wine, but
experiencing this scent after a communal hike at Kunde Family Winery in Sonoma Valley could actually prove enjoyable.

Thickheaded Somms: Examining the neuroscience behind expert wine tasting

Among our many activities, wine professionals devote a considerable amount of time to perception, the state of being where we become aware of something through the senses.