Wine tasters are made, not born

There’s an excellent interview with Barry Smith on ABC (Australia) radio on the philosophy of wine. For a professor of philosophy, Barry is remarkably accessible and good at explaining what could otherwise be quite complex topics. One of the themes in this interview is the difference between experts and social drinkers. Are wine experts ‘born’, […]

The Barry Smith interview: what is the nature of wine perception, and is wine flavour objective?

Professor Barry Smith (above) is an academic philosopher with a particular interest in flavour. A keen wine geek, he organized the first symposium on wine and philosophy back in 2004, and then published the first book on the topic in 2007 (Questions of Taste). More recently, he was founder and is co-director of CenSes – […]

Learning, the counter to subjectivity in wine appreciation

Like what you like. That’s what we are so often told, in terms of appreciating wine. It’s fair advice.

When it comes to wine preferences, no one should tell you what to enjoy. You get to choose that.

But so often, this is extended by the statement that all wine appreciation is subjective. Wine preference certainly is. […]

Is flavour a property of the wine? A great article from Barry Smith

If you can, take some time to read this great article in a Nature supplement by wine-loving philosophy professor Barry Smith. It discusses whether the flavour (or taste) of a wine is the property of the wine or not.

This may seem a slightly self-indulgent academic discussion, but it has important implications for how we approach wine […]

So, is wine tasting subjective or objective?

I’m reading a new book on the philosophy of wine. It’s titled ‘The philosophy of wine: a case of truth, beauty and intoxication’, and it’s written by Cain Todd, a lecturer in philosophy at the University of Lancaster.

I’m not far enough through it to give my full review, but early on Todd spots an interesting […]

Does language for wine shape perception?

Some thoughts. Can we think without language? In the absence of words, can we experience things consciously? I’d argue, yes.

We think and process our experience consciously independently of language, and then use language to tag these thoughts. Experiences are a human universal, but the language we use to structure these thoughts then may differ.

But does […]

Is the taste of wine a property of the wine?

A philosophical point, but an important one. Is the ‘taste’ of a wine a property of a wine? Here are my thoughts.

A wine has physical properties, which can be measured. These are ‘real’, in that the wine has a chemical composition. If several researchers examine the wine using analytic tools such as spectrophotometry or GC-MS […]