Neuroenology: How the Brain Creates the Taste of Wine by Gordon Shepherd

Found a great short read to share with everyone!

We were recently speaking in the office, going over an old, firm belief in the art world about how your brain processes that which it cannot comprehend by forcing comprehension – this is the basic principle behind all visual art.  The idea was to explain how the brain works and makes things that aren’t there, well…there. 

Item in question: the classic smiley face.  On paper you have a circle, two dots and a curved line.  That’s all that exists, but your brain sees a smiley face – or sad face if your curved line is downward.  The brain is an amazing machine and this article brushes over how the same concept applies to wine.  You may taste apples, pears, peaches, jasmine flowers, wet stones, etc.  What you really have is fermented grape juice.  There are no apples added in nor does it sit for months on end with wet stones in the barrel.  It’s fascinating how we do this without even thinking about it, its natural!  The article (written by Mike Pomranz for is based on a study from Yale neuroscientist Gordon Shepherd who published his book, “Neuroenology: How the Brain Creates the Taste of Wine” through Columbia University Press.  He argues wine tasting actually stimulates your brain more than allegedly highfalutin activities like listening to music or even tackling a complicated math problem.[1]

Now from our travels around the globe, We’ve found that you can find more wine in areas unknown than you’d think.  You don’t need to wait till you go to California or France on your next vacation to stimulate your brain.  You can easily stimulate these mental receptors in any of the 50 US states! (see here)

Personally (and we’re biased), we couldn’t think of a better way to have fun, learn, try new stuff, and stimulate our brains than a full day of – somewhat reserved – wine tasting.

For further reading after Pomranz’s article, just dive into Shepherd’s book!

[1] Wine Tasting Engages Your Brain More Than Any Other Behavior, Says Neuroscientist by Mike Pomranz, 4/7/17

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