Since 2005, various studies have shown wine-tasting to be junk science, which has accuracy levels comparable to those achieved by stick-clutching dowsers on the hunt for invisible bodies of water.
Commenting in a Guardian article on the results of his study on the randomness of wine awards, Robert Hodgson from the Fieldbrook Winery in Humboldt County said: “The results are disturbing. Only about 10% of judges are consistent and those judges who were consistent one year were ordinary the next year … Chance has a great deal to do with the awards that wines win.”
And Hodgson isn’t alone in questioning the veracity claims made by those who swear by the ability of their palates to distinguish between different wines.
The Guardian article also tells the story of French academic Frédéric Brochet, who found that taste-testers responded more positively to wines that had labels that appeared more expensive. Brochet assembled a group of 57 volunteers and required them to taste the same wine on two separate occasions, with the only difference being the label pasted to the outside of the bottle. By the end of the study, it was found that critics described the very same wine in more positive language when a more regal label was on display.
So, given that most of us are ill-equipped to taste the intricacies of the flavours that go into a sip of wine, US-based Union Wine Company, which sells its wine in cans, has decided to mock the wine snobs that turn their noses up at anything that doesn’t come out of the finest bottle.
Over the course of four spots, a variety of characters share their largely vacuous insights, littered with sommelier vernacular, on the drink they are holding. Although some of the spots do tend to be a bit long-winded, they serve as a great reminder as to why we should always be suspicious in the company of people who use the words ‘notes’ or ‘tones’ to describe anything other than music.