This Tasting Tour takes stock of the scientific and psycho-sociological research, both on the relationship between wine, health and nutrition and on the important advances in the neuro-sciences and psycho-sociology of tasting.


Key C1: Wine Health and Nutrition

Head Instructor: Jean Pierre Rifler: Emergency doctor, oenologist technician, nutritionist.

Co-facilitated by Professors Norbert Latruffe and Joël de Leiris

  • Understanding nutrition through simple concepts
  • Define the beneficial effects of alcohol and wine
  • Integrate wine into the meal and define how this food bowl contributes to better health

Wine and health, a whole history…
Free radicals and antioxidant defense
General principles of nutrition
Wine and cardiovascular protection: the French Paradox
Alcohol, polyphenols and cancer
Polyphenols and metabolism
Polyphenols and Alzheimer’s
Hormésie, a possible explanation of the beneficial effects of wine on health
The Okinawa regime
The Cretan regime

Key C2: Neuro-oenology

Head Instructor : Gabriel Lepousez Perception and Memory Unit, Institut Pasteur, Paris, France. The School of the Nose, Paris.
David Lefebvre Oenologist Consultant Journalist

As a taster – for the professional as well as for the amateur – the brain and its sensory extensions are our working tool to read and appreciate all aspects of wine. But do we really know how our tasting tool works? Current advances in neuroscience are profoundly changing our knowledge of the sensory and cognitive mechanisms of tasting and invite us to revisit the art of tasting, and in particular that of geo-sensory tasting of local wines. Based both on an in-depth synthesis of the latest scientific advances in sensory neuroscience and on recent knowledge in oenological analysis of wine compounds, this module will aim to better understand :
1) what is the nature and diversity of the sensory dimensions that our brain analyzes in wine,
2) what is the link between terroir, the development of certain biochemical compounds and the emergence of geo-sensory perceptions,
3) what are the integrative processes that contribute to the mental and emotional representation of wine taste,
4) how to optimize our tasting methods to better recognize local wines.

Based on this neuro-oenological approach to wine and the geo-sensory tasting process, this module proposes to rediscover our sensoriality, to capture the neurochemical link between terroir and tasting, to open our eyes to the strengths and weaknesses of our brain and thus to get to know ourselves better as a taster.

Course outline

Wine is a multi-sensory object .
1. Taste perception: towards new flavours in the mouth
2. Tactile perception: understanding the touch of the mouth
3. Importance of salivation
4. Temporality of the sensations in the mouth
5. Tasting with the eyes: the role of the view
6. Smell: sizes and weaknesses
7. We are all different: sensory variability in tasting
8. Review the descriptors of the geo-sensory tasting

The biochemical composition of local wines at the origin of geo-sensory perceptions
1. Intro: The grape berry, its families of compounds,
2. The fermentative act: from the vegetality of the grape to the minerality of the wine
3. Salinity and mineral compounds, geochemical signature of the locale
4. Minerality: the different representations of a multi-sensory concept
5. Phenolic compounds, astringency and mouthfeel
6. Diversity of acids and sugars in wine
7. Wine-growing practices, grape maturity and expressions of the terroir

How the taste of wine is built in our brain
1. Sensory journey to the heart of our brain
2. Association and sensory congruence: the basis for sensory agreement
3. Reason versus Emotion in the tasting

New methods to improve the tasting of local wines

Key C3: Psycho sociology of tasting

In collaboration with the ESSEC laboratory “Change and Innovation”
David AUTISSIER Director ESSEC Chairs Change and Innovation
Corinne FORASACCO Coach ESSEC intervener

Psycho-sociology of tasting : Collective Experience versus Individual Experience. This key deals with the social experience of wine.

The objectives are to understand the psychosocial mechanisms in tasting and the role of the group(s) in this process and the resulting appreciation. To do this, we offer 4 half-day modules that focus on the experiential dimension. We can also consider the possibility of deciphering the group’s functioning with eye tracking tools to evaluate what attracts the participants’ attention.

Module 1 : The influence of the group and the need for the group – Functioning of a typical social group (leadership, influence, acting) – The mechanisms of influence (Experience of the lost Joule ticket) – The need for different points of view to describe a complex phenomenon such as tasting with a tasting workshop
Module 2 : Cognition and conditioning – Cognitive Bias of perception: “we are always looking for what we know” – The importance of the cognitive environment and the Nudge to create a group effect (collective intelligence) – Blind tasting workshop filmed and decoded
Module 3 : Extension of the realm of the possible – The strength of the myth and the phenomena of resistance to change – Creativity and meaning to experience sensory emotion (brainstorming technique put into practice in the workshop)
Module 4 : The need for rhetoric to anchor the experience 15 – The words of tasting and story telling of the experience (Tasting storytelling workshop) – From one-on-one sharing to mass communication on social networks (Eye tracking workshop)