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Unformatted text preview: ng wine (Valentin et al. 2003). These results suggest that wine experts have superior ability than novices to discriminate between, recognize, and describe different wines (Hughson and Boakes 2002). It is interesting to examine how this expertise relates to the consumer sensory experience. In a study of consumer response to the information contained on wine bottle back labels, the key finding was that consumers had difficulty matching label sensory descriptions with corresponding wines, although the majority of respondents claimed they read back labels as a purchase decision tool (Charters et al. 2000). This finding is in concordance with work that showed discrepancies between expert and consumer vocabulary (Solomon 1990, Lesschaeve 2003a). Can wine experts make repeatable sensory assessments, assuming they would perform sensory tests according to established standardized procedures? The literature is scarce on the repeatability of wine expert ratings. Trade publications do not report these data. Data from this author suggest that wine experts are likely to provide repeatable evaluations; however, their quality assessments are rarely aligned with other wine expert ratings (Lesschaeve, unpublished data). Wine experts tend to be more repeatable than novices in the vocabulary they use to describe wine, likely because of a superior olfactory memory performance (Parr et al. 2004). However, the superior abilities of wine experts seem to be linked to their greater wine knowledge rather than to superior sensory acuities (Parr et al. 2004, Hughson et al. 2002, Gawel 1997, Lawless 1984). Wine experts would rely on prototypic description of wine (“I smell gooseberry therefore it is a Sauvignon blanc and I s hould a lso smell grapefruit and cat urine”) instead of relying on their sensory perceptions at the time of the tasting. Whereas wine expertise is critical in winery operations to ensure production of nonfaulty wines, there is no apparent evidence that wine expertise can predict consumer lik...
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- Spring '09