Expert wine tasters have a greater ability than non-experts to discriminate between and evaluate the sensory properties of wine. In this paper we explore non-experts’ understanding of a set of 64 terms which are frequently used as descriptors of the sensory properties of wine. These terms can be found in guidebooks on Italian wine, in production specifications and in the official tasting scales of the Italian Sommelier Association. The 64 target terms were selected in a preliminary phase of Study 1. These terms were then presented to 558 Italian non-expert consumers who were asked to identify the opposite of each target term, in relation to red and white wines respectively. The findings a) suggest that non-experts are able to think of the sensorial properties of wine in terms of dimensions modeled by two opposite poles (and it is interesting to note that this is in line with the bipolar structure of many dimensions used by experts); b) made it possible to identify the properties that are consistently associated by non-experts with the same dimension and those which, in contrast, evoke different opposites (i.e. the underlying dimension is less univocal) and c) reveal that the target properties generally evoke similar dimensions when applied to both red and white wines. In Study 2, the gap between the experts’ interpretation of the terms and that of the non-experts was explored. Taken as a whole, the results of the study indicate an empirical methodology that may be used to investigate how standard consumers understand descriptions of wine. They may also provide food for thought regarding the ambiguity embedded in these descriptions due to potential discrepancies between the lexicons that experts and non-experts refer to in the world of wine tasting.

Non experts’ understanding of terms frequently used by experts to describe the sensory properties of wine: An investigation based on opposites

Bianchi, Ivana;Branchini, Erika;Torquati, Stefania;Fermani, Arianna;Capitani, Elena;Barnaba, Veronica;Savardi, Ugo;Burro, Roberto
2021-01-01

Abstract

Expert wine tasters have a greater ability than non-experts to discriminate between and evaluate the sensory properties of wine. In this paper we explore non-experts’ understanding of a set of 64 terms which are frequently used as descriptors of the sensory properties of wine. These terms can be found in guidebooks on Italian wine, in production specifications and in the official tasting scales of the Italian Sommelier Association. The 64 target terms were selected in a preliminary phase of Study 1. These terms were then presented to 558 Italian non-expert consumers who were asked to identify the opposite of each target term, in relation to red and white wines respectively. The findings a) suggest that non-experts are able to think of the sensorial properties of wine in terms of dimensions modeled by two opposite poles (and it is interesting to note that this is in line with the bipolar structure of many dimensions used by experts); b) made it possible to identify the properties that are consistently associated by non-experts with the same dimension and those which, in contrast, evoke different opposites (i.e. the underlying dimension is less univocal) and c) reveal that the target properties generally evoke similar dimensions when applied to both red and white wines. In Study 2, the gap between the experts’ interpretation of the terms and that of the non-experts was explored. Taken as a whole, the results of the study indicate an empirical methodology that may be used to investigate how standard consumers understand descriptions of wine. They may also provide food for thought regarding the ambiguity embedded in these descriptions due to potential discrepancies between the lexicons that experts and non-experts refer to in the world of wine tasting.
Wine descriptors, Sensory qualities, Opposites Dimensions, Expert vs non-expert lexicons
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11562/1042059
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