How Light Influences the Taste of Wine

New study reveals this is the case

German researchers at the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz Institute of Psychology have recently determined that the taste of wine can be significantly altered by serving it under different lighting. In other words, it would appear that the room the wine is tested in also plays a role in determining how a person experiences the beverage's taste. The researchers drew their conclusions after analyzing a large number of types of wine, each of them served under four different types of light.

It was discovered, for instance, that white and green background light tended to make test participants rate the same wine lower than when subjects tasted it under red or blue light. In additional sub-surveys, it was also demonstrated that people were also willing to pay more for wine when it was offered to them under blue or red light. In the lab experiments, participants were willing to pay up to one euro more per bottle, and, after compensating for all other factors, it was determined that only the background light could play a part in this, the German research team reveals, quoted by ScienceDaily.

“It is already known that the color of a drink can influence the way we taste it. We wanted to know whether background lighting, for example in a restaurant, makes a difference as well,” General Experimental Psychology division expert, Dr. Daniel Oberfeld-Twistel says. The team not only found that, but also demonstrated that participants appeared to judge the same type of wine as being about 1.5 times sweeter in red and blue light than in the other two types. The fruitiness factor was also rated better under the conditions, experts say.

“The extreme lighting conditions found in some bars can undoubtedly influence the way a wine tastes,” Oberfeld-Twistel adds. In addition, wine tastings should no longer be conducted under white light, or even under red and blue ones. Rather, professional tasters should stick to an environment with neutral lighting, which would ensure the objectivity of their decisions. The German team reveals that more research is underway, which seeks to determine precisely why these differences occur.

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