The background lighting provided in a room has an influence on how we taste wine. This is the result of a survey conducted by researchers at the Institute of Psychology at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Germany. Several sub-surveys were conducted in which about 500 participants were asked how they liked a particular wine and how much they would pay for it. ScienceDaily (Dec. 29, 2009)
Another study “The Color of Odors” [Morrot, Brochet and Dubourdieu] has shown the impact color has in determining the adjectives we use to describe wines. A panel of 54 Oenology students at the University of Bordeaux smelled a white Bordeaux wine and described it using appropriate white wine descriptors. When an odorless red dye was added, the tasters used red wine terms to describe it. The perception of the flavors and the adjectives used to describe the flavors changed to reflect the color of the wine! The authors raise a provocative question: When we describe a wine, how much are we relying on our sense of taste and smell and how much on what we see?
The results of this experiment demonstrate how much people rely on context for interpreting their odor experience. People are more visually and verbally oriented to clues on odors than we are to our olfactory system. , even experts who you would expect to be less susceptible to these context manipulations look for cues in their visual and verbal worlds.” “The analysis shows that the odors of a wine are, for the most part, represented by objects that have the color of the wine…because of the visual information; the tasters discounted the olfactory information….our results suggest that the above perceptual illusion occurs during the verbalization phase of odor determination.”