Research finds cork stops all-important in wine appreciation

27/09/2017 - 12:53
New research has found that the sight and sound of cork can make people think wine tastes better than that of the exact same wine closed with a screwcap.

A study from Oxford University’s Crossmodal Research laboratory looked at how corks influenced peoples perception of the wine they drink.

140 participants were asked to try two identical wines, and give them ratings after having been played the sound of a cork popping, then again after having heard a screwcap being opened. They were then asked to actually open both bottles and rate the wines again.

Participants rated the same wine as 15% better quality when served under a cork than a screwcap. The wine under a cork was also rated as more appropriate for a celebration (+20%) and more inciting of a celebratory mood (+16%).

The study's designer, Professor Charles Spence, said: “Our senses are intrinsically linked - what we hear, see and feel has a huge effect on what we taste.

“The sound and sight of a cork being popped sets our expectations before the wine has even touched our lips, and these expectations then anchor our subsequent tasting experience.

“These results emphasise the importance of closures for wine, and the clear association between cork and quality in our subconscious.”

Spence claims that his study is the first empirical demonstration that proves that a cork closure results in a more positive drinking experience.

According to the Portuguese Cork Association (APCOR), 12 billion bottles of wine are closed every year with cork- 70% of the market.

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