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Plumpton Wine Talks with Professor Barry Smith

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Plumpton College Wine Centre

Wales Lane

Plumpton

BN7 3AS

United Kingdom

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Plumpton Wine Talks presents "Why wine tasting is so hard" with Professor Barry Smith

Psychologists and neuroscientists tell us that flavour is the result of multi-sensory integration of olfactory, tactile and taste inputs, modulated by tasting’s dynamic time course and individual responses to sensory stimuli in the mouth due to different threshold sensitivities tasters have to acid, tannin, sugar, alcohol, CO2 and sulphur. According to this definition, the flavour of a wine is a psychological construct that can vary from subject to subject. According to Gordon Sheppard's new book, Neuroenology, the flavour of a wine is in the brain, alongside our hedonic reactions to it. 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 experience of drinkers and the flavours of wines. The relationship between them is far from simple and 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 those who make and consume it.

Professor Barry C Smith is director of the Institute of Philosophy at the University of London’s School of Advanced Study. He is the founding director of its Centre for the Study of the Senses, which pioneers collaborative research links between philosophers, psychologists and neuroscientists. Barry 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 and is the editor of Questions of Taste: the philosophy of wine (Oxford University Press). In his research, he collaborates with chefs and artists and consults for the food and drinks industry. He has worked with Courvoisier, Diageo, Unilever, Haagen-Dazs, Mumm, Perrier Jouet, and The Champagne Bureau. Barry is a frequent broadcaster, and has appeared on BBC One’s Masterchef, BBC Two’s Inside the Factory, and contributes to BBC Radio 4’s The Kitchen Cabinet. In 2017 he wrote and presented a ten-part series on the senses for the BBC Radio 4, The Uncommon Senses. He is a regular contributor to The World of Fine Wine and is wine columnist for Prospect Magazine.

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Plumpton College Wine Centre

Wales Lane

Plumpton

BN7 3AS

United Kingdom

View Map

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Refunds up to 7 days before event

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