Wine rankings debunked

Posted 10 years ago by Evan Tishuk

Wine rankings are for suckers. "Brochet invited 57 wine experts and asked them to give their impressions of what looked like two glasses of red and white wine. The wines were actually the same white wine, one of which had been tinted red with food coloring. But that didn't stop the experts from describing the 'red' wine in language typically used to describe red wines. One expert praised its 'jamminess,' while another enjoyed its 'crushed red fruit.' Not a single one noticed it was actually a white wine."

8 Comments

olivier blanchard ~ 10 years ago

That's just cruel.

Evan Tishuk ~ 10 years ago

Perception is reality.

Experts? ~ 9 years ago

They weren't very good experts if they tasted no tannic acid and thought "red" wine was red wine.

Cameron ~ 9 years ago

Once I served a Harvrd grad friend a strong glass of scotch (two ounces) and water. Then four more "scotch and waters" each with only a 1/4 ounce scotch. He was acting half drunk when I told him what I had done. Then he got really angry with me, since I had "humiliated" him in front of our wives.
I would like to know how these wine experts reacted when they founf out they had been duped.

Dog ~ 7 years ago

They probably lost their jobs already...

Bernarusan ~ 7 years ago

C'mon! No person with a vaguely decent sense of smell/taste and some knowledge of wine will mistake a red for a white or viceversa. Your "experts" were no such.

The Mang ~ 6 years ago

57 experts? Where would you get 57 wine experts in the same room for anything less than a serious world class competition? These 57 people used in the example may have been enthusiasts or people who are semi-knowledgeable about wine, but hardly experts. I work as a Financial Advisor and in that job you meet so many different people. I had a client who was an expert wine taster (he made over $300,000 a year solely from tasting wine). He told me that there are only 20 or 30 people in the world at his level. And, there is no way real wine experts would have fallen for that. Furthermore, they wouldn't even show up to an event for less than $10,000 - did Brochet shell-out over a half a million dollars to prove a point? Highly unlikely. My client said that there is a school in France where you get trained for this particular qualification. After you are done, you can tell the region the wine is from, the vineyard and even what side of the hill the grapes were grown on - solely on the wine's taste. It sounds crazy, but it is true. They have to be continually tested in order to maintain their expert status. Get the names of the 57 experts and see what training they received.

Evan Tishuk ~ 6 years ago

I would be surprised if all 57 experts were in the same room at the same time. I think that could undermine the validity of the experiment if the subjects were able to communicate directly with each other while being observed. As for the level of "expert," I have no idea. But it looks like Frederic Brochet (the original experimenter) is heavily integrated into the French wine culture/industry. It might not be that hard for him to round up several dozen people who would fit into the top 1% of wine tasters. If there sample was filled in with others who are highly knowledgeable, but not world-class, I don't think that effect the conclusions of the experiment too drastically.

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