Is wine best served after dark?

14th April, 2014 by Lauren Eads

The taste of a wine and its perfect serving conditions could be determined by the light and sounds experienced while drinking it, claim scientists from Oxford University.

pinotgrigioglassesNext month Oxford University scientists and Spanish winery, Campo Viejo, will test the theory that different light and sounds impact on a wine’s flavour by conducting the biggest ever multi-sensory experiment into the psychology of drinking wine, as reported by The Telegraph.

Thousands of people attending the Streets of Spain festival on London’s Southbank next month will be invited to step into the ‘Colour Lab’ of Oxford University professor of Experimental Psychology, Charles Spence where they will be asked to rate wines drunk from a black glass while being exposed to different light and sounds.

Prof Spence believes the results could influence labelling in the future sparking new recommendations such as “drink while listening to classical music” or “best served after dark.”

He told The Telegraph: “We’ve all been in that situation where you being a bottle of wine back from holiday and you excitedly open it with friends, only to find it doesn’t taste anything like you remember it did.

“Of course the wine is still the same. They only thing that has changed is your environment. So if you want to enjoy your holiday wine you need to recreate, as far as possible, the moment that you drank it.

“Maybe wait for a sunny afternoon, or drink on a warm summer’s night. Change the music so it recreates the ambience. It will all help recapture the flavour that you remember.”

Prof Spence added that the current trend for neutral colour-schemes in homes could be causing wine to taste more bland.

He said: “At home, where do people drink the most wine? In the kitchen and living rooms which tend to be painted white or cream.
“If people love their wine, they should probably be thinking of injecting colour at every available opportunity.”

A previous study by Oxford University found that when experienced tasters were given champagne in black glasses they struggled to tell the difference between a cheap sparkling wine and an expensive bottle of Champagne.

Results of the latest study, sponsored by Spanish wine label Campo Viejo, will be peer-reviewed and published with Professor Spence going so far as to suggest the results could spark the end of the traditional sommelier.

He said: “I believe the results of our study will extend to restaurants and bars reconsidering the colour of tablecloths, glassware, cutlery and even the colour of pictures on walls.”

“The age of the white aproned sommelier might even be drawing to an end.”

The Campo Viejo Colour Lab opens on London’s Southbank on the 2 May and runs until the 5 May.

3 Responses to “Is wine best served after dark?”

  1. James kelly says:

    This experimant has already been done! The results will show surroundings changes will affect perceived nuances and characters of the wines served

  2. joe says:

    Studies like this have been done many times in other areas. It is true that your surroundings will have a significant impact on how you experience and perceive stimuli in your environment. I imagine that wine will be no different.

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