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WIC Seminar: Professor Barry Smith

Jul 7, 2017, 3:00 pm

The Wine Innovation Cluster (WIC) invites you to a seminar by visiting guest speaker, Professor Barry Smith, University of London.

Title: Why Wine Tasting is Harder Than You Think

Friday 7 July at 3pm
Plant Research Centre Auditorium
All welcome!

Psychologists and neuroscientists tell us that flavour is the result of the multi-sensory integration of olfactory, tactile and taste impressions, modulated by tasting’s dynamic time course and the location of sensory stimuli in the mouth. According to this definition, the flavour of a wine is a psychological construct that can vary from subject to subject as a result of different threshold sensitivities tasters have to acid, tannin, sugar, alcohol, C02 and sulphur. To this description we could add the hedonic values that get painted on to particular sensations. Lighting conditions, mood, and even sounds can affect our experience of tasting, and wines can be enhanced or distorted by accompanying food choices.
All of
this suggests that wine makers have very little influence over the resulting experience drinkers of their wines will have. However, we must distinguish between the overall experience of drinkers and the flavours of wines. The relationship between them is far from simple and this makes tasting harder than many think. Thus in spite of the careful findings of psychologists and neuroscientists, and the wilder claims of wine writers, there is still room for the idea of flavour as a multi-dimensional, objective property of a wine that depends both on its chemistry and the needs and interests of wine makers and consumers.

About the speaker:

Professor Barry C Smith is director of the Institute of Philosophy at the University of London’s School of Advanced Study. He is also the founding director of its Centre for the Study of the Senses, which pioneers collaborative research links between philosophers, psychologists and neuroscientists. A philosopher of language and mind, he now works on the multisensory nature of perceptual experience, taste, smell and flavour. He has published theoretical and experimental papers, writing in Nature, Food Quality and Preference and Flavour . In 2007, he edited Questions of Taste: the philosophy of wine, Oxford University Press 2007), The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Language, Oxford University Press 2008 (with Ernest Lepore), and Knowing Our Own Minds Oxford University Press 1998 (with Crispin Wright and Cynthia Macdonald). He is a frequent broadcaster. In 2010, wrote and presented a four-part series for the BBC World Service called The Mysteries of the Brain.


Jul 7, 2017
3:00 pm
Event Category:


Auditorium, Plant Research Centre
2b Hartley Grove
Urrbrae, South Australia 5064 Australia

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