Comparison of the ability of wine experts and novices to identify ă odorant signals: a new insight in wine expertise


  • Tempere S.
  • Hamtat M. -L.
  • Revel G.
  • Sicard G.


  • Wine experts
  • Olfactory training
  • Memory
  • Novices
  • Olfactory identification

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Background and Aims: The ability to identify odours is important in wine ă tasting. Contradictory results have emerged from studies comparing the ă olfactory identification ability of experts and novices. The aim of this ă study is to extend the characterisation of olfactory capacity of wine ă professionals and to discuss the effect of practice and training on ă odour identification. ă Methods and Results: We used an original method to explore odour ă identification as a function of a semantic and perceptual task: visual ă images of odour sources, forced-choice olfactory identification and ă response time measurements. The performance of 39 wine experts and 41 ă novices was compared. The experts were more accurate than novices in ă olfactory identification; however, their response time was significantly ă longer. ă Conclusions: As a part of their expertise, wine professionals acquire a ă better capacity for identifying wine defects or everyday odorants. ă Significance of the Study: Experts apply a more complex cognitive ă process than novices when confronted with olfactory identification ă tasks. The mechanisms by which experts acquire their superior skill ă probably involve memory and olfactory mental representations, but their ă precise nature remains unclear.

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