World’s first augmented reality lab to focus on wine perception

Brock University in Ontario has created the world’s first augmented, virtual and sensory reality laboratory, which will conduct experiments into how a person’s sensory environment influences their wine choices.

The $1 million lab, due to open in April, received a $960,000 government grant this week to fund experiments into how sensory perceptions influence our enjoyment of wine.

Brock University President Gervan Fearon (left) and Reza Moridi (right) trial the augmented reality technology Deborah Inglis (centre)

Drinkers will be virtually transported to different environments such as a vineyard in the depths of winter and a bar during a wine tasting to look into how sight, sound and smell influence how we choose and enjoy wine.

The research will help better market Canadian wine and bolster Ontario’s $4.4bn wine industry.

Debra Inglis, director of Brock University’s Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute, said: “Not everything about enjoying wine is just about the taste of the wine, it’s about the entire experience.”

This week Reza Moridi, the minister for research, innovation and science, announced a $960,000 government grant for the project.

“Supporting Ontario’s researchers as they make breakthrough discoveries will help advance technology and drive economic growth across the province,” he said.

Reza added that the project would “lay the groundwork for new products and services, and economic opportunity for people in Ontario”.

Brock University is not the first to research how factors beyond taste affect our enjoyment of wine.

Last year professor Charles Spence of Oxford University found that drinkers rated a bottle of wine under cork 15% better quality than the same wine in a screw cap bottle. The research looked into how the sound of a popping cork influenced our enjoyment of wine.

In December scientists at the University of Texas studied whether the sound of champagne bubbles could be used to determine its quality.

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