Wine tasting is bullshit.

Fuck io9 a lot, but this is funny:

It bears repeating that the judges Hodgson surveyed were no ordinary taste-testers. These were judges at California State Fair wine competition -- the oldest and most prestigious in North America. If you think you can consistently rate the "quality" of wine, it means two things:

1: No. You can't.

2. Wine-tasting is bullshit.


A 2006 study, published by the American Association of Wine Economists, found that most people can't distinguish between paté and dog food.

My personal wine Venn Diagram consists of a large outer circle labelled "something my companions thought was a good idea" enclosing smaller almost-equally-sized circles labelled "something that gives me a headache before a buzz" and "something that would be better with bubbles and OJ in it".

Also, liver-flavored butter? Who eats that on purpose?

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14 Responses:

  1. aaaaah, i love you. (grew up in sonoma county, smiles knowingly)

  2. But drinking copious amounts of booze is fun! SCIENCE CAN'T TAKE THAT AWAY FROM ME.

  3. Jim Sweeney says:

    Bullshit tasting makes me whine.

  4. Zingus says:

    Exhibit C looks promising in bringing some hard core facts, but it's also a wall of text. The rest isn't hard science or science at all, or if it is science it doesn't try to prove the main thesis, only that crooks might exists in the field.

    "The Exception" actually is the strongest attack to the topic, in that it proves that wine-tasting is marginal to the average end-consumer choice of wines.

    I'd like to point out that Exhibit A, especially, is a research conducted by a... butt-hurt wine maker? Are we really using that kind of data?

    Also: some of the mentioned tastes have long-winded, pretentious, almost ridiculous names in the english language, but they don't sound as bad when you translate them in french or italian... it's everyday stuff, stuff that might need a long winded name to nail the exact taste in countries where... it isn't as widely available.

    • andolanra says:

      I'd also like to point out that the original source for Exhibit B doesn't actually mention that the subjects were "experts". The closest it comes is suggesting without qualification that it could be demonstrated among experts. In fact, as far as I could see, it doesn't mention any methodology for selecting subjects. Every news outlet seems to report it as "wine experts", but I suspect it's just French undergrads who probably drank wine growing up.

      I love me some good contrarianism as much as the next misanthrope, especially when it's used to trash-talk rich white people, but half the actual insights are obvious ("Our perception of food... doesn't come just from our mouths! You can drink bottom-shelf wine... and enjoy it!") and the other half are the repeated bullshit factoids from lazy science journalists, all cobbled together with weak justification and typically Gawker-esque writing.

      • jwz says:

        Let's keep in mind that I did link to an io9 article, so nitpicking their failure to cite their sources is like complaining that a middle school science faire wasn't peer reviewed and covered in Nature.

        I posted for the snark.

        (And I was loaded on a legitimate liquor - tequila - at the time.)

        But hey, wine "culture" is still bullshit.

      • relaxing says:

        The mere notion that someone might know more about a subject than me!

  5. If only io9's bullshit filter extended to their own habit of posting fad diet claims under the "debunkery" heading.

  6. Dan Tentler says:

    hahaha liver flavored butter :D
    Its wonderful on toast, though!

  7. honey booze booze says:

    I remember going to a White-Tail gala/ball in the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles when I was thirteen.
    Aside from dancing the minuet with society girls, I met, and spoke with both Jacques Chirac and Francois Mitterrand that night. And I thought all the Foie gras I was stuffing into my gullet was minced Spam...

    I burned bright...

  8. phuzz says:

    10 "Do I like it?"
    20 IF yes THEN drink more UNTIL floor
    30 ELSE pick new drink
    40 GOTO 10