Suggested reading: Wine-tasting is junk science

by David Derbyshire

Every year Robert Hodgson selects the finest wines from his small California winery and puts them into competitions around the state.

And in most years, the results are surprisingly inconsistent: some whites rated as gold medallists in one contest do badly in another. Reds adored by some panels are dismissed by others. Over the decades Hodgson, a softly spoken retired oceanographer, became curious. Judging wines is by its nature subjective, but the awards appeared to be handed out at random.

So drawing on his background in statistics, Hodgson approached the organisers of the California State Fair wine competition, the oldest contest of its kind in North America, and proposed an experiment for their annual June tasting sessions. … (continue at The Guardian)

Published by Massimo

Massimo is the K.D. Irani Professor of Philosophy at the City College of New York. He blogs at and He is the author of How to Be a Stoic: Using Ancient Philosophy to Live a Modern Life.

3 thoughts on “Suggested reading: Wine-tasting is junk science

  1. Oh, I’ve known about this for years, that properly controlled experiments show that people can’t tell the difference between most different types of yeast poop. Well, that IS what it is, is it not?


    Oh, total off-topic, but re the obit of someone who died Thursday. While much of her writing was good, I already knew how bad Barbara Ehrenreich’s “Wild God” semi-memoir was. Last night, sadly, with further Googling and finding stuff I missed at the time it came out, I found out just how bad, and wound up writing a lot longer (with a lot of “pull quotes”) than I first planned.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Wine tasting is a good application for AI (artificial intelligence). Just need some improved automated olfactory chemoreceptors and an algorithm.

    Or dogs: After they retire from law enforcement, they can poke their (comparatively) consistent schnozzes into the sommelier business. One bark for good, two for bad.

    Liked by 2 people

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