It’s official: Wine drinkers are smarter than any other drinkers. New studies, according to NPR, reveal that drinking wine activates your brain more than any other human behavior, including watching sports, listening to music and doing things like reading and talking. So, drink up!
Yale neuroscientist Gordon Shepherd has dedicated his career to the study of wine and his theory that the flavor of wine “engages more of our brain than any other human behavior.”
His new book Neuroenology: How the Brain Creates the Taste of Wine, explains it all. Basically, wine is brain food. It was Galileo who said that,
“A wine’s good taste does not belong to the objective determinations of the wine and hence of an object, even of an object considered as appearance, but belongs to the special character of the sense in the subject who is enjoying this taste.”
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Say what now? Basically, drinking wine starts in the the mouth. The many molecules in wine activate taste buds and sense receptors that then activate the diaphragm, jaw, throat and more.
Those signals send triggers to the brain that result in actions including pattern recognition, scent awareness, memory movement, and patterns involving our emotions and judgement (even though we kind of knew that already).
Shepherd speaks to the “hidden” force in wine that starts in the nose.
“When you sniff wine in the glass, you appreciate the bouquet. That’s called “orthonasal” smell — the external smelling we’re all familiar with. But what most people are unaware of is that when you take wine in your mouth and experience the flavor, most of that flavor is due to a kind of internal smelling.
The air comes in from the throat, not your nostrils. That’s called “retronasal” smell. The molecules are carried to the same receptor cells in the nose, but from the opposite direction. This is very important when it comes to wine flavor.”
If you’ve ever been to a Traveling Vineyard in-home wine tasting, then you’ve experienced the ‘jelly bean or Skittles’ test. This sums up Shepherd’s ‘hidden force’ theory perfectly Basically, you put a piece of candy in your mouth and plug your nose while you eat it.
What do you taste? Most likely you sense sugar. Unplug your nose and suddenly you are flooded with flavor – you can smell, taste and sense the flavor and textures from the tip of your tongue to the back of your nose.
Shepherd also recommends not spitting out wine at a tasting. It can actually stop your brain from getting a full workout. Also, sip slowly for the best brain workout. “Within a few sips or drinks, people are just downing the stuff. There needs to be more to it than that. If you take too large a sip, you’ve saturated your system.”
Wine drinkers, do you feel smarter? You should!