Research survey aims to demystify wine descriptions

16 July 2021

CQUniversity wine researcher Dr Alex Russell is calling on non-wine experts to take part in a research survey that aims to take the jargon out of wine descriptions.

"The general population is terrible at describing wines - and there's a lot of snobbery in wine language'"

Dr Russell explains.

"More often than not people see wine descriptions that include descriptors of things that seem to have no right to be in a wine' like 'tar' and 'tobacco' and 'singed iron' for example.

"This survey will look at the non-experts' understanding of terms that are frequently used by experts to describe the sensory properties of wine'"

he says.

"Our aim is to understand how the terms which are frequently used in guidebooks on wine are understood by wine consumers."

Dr Russell explains that the investigation is based on opposites.

"We're trying something different. Imagine instead of telling me what a word means' I ask you to say what the opposite of a word is. So even if you can't taste a wine and tell me if it's a peppery wine or not' you might be able to tell me what the opposite is.

"Part of the challenge is actually understanding if people know the meaning of these words."

Dr Russell said this was the third time that the study was being conducted.

"This research is being conducted in collaboration with the University of Verona and University of Macerata in Italy and Lund University in Sweden and the survey has already been carried out in two other countries and languages (Italy/Italian and Vietnam/Vietnamese)'"

Dr Russell explains.

"We think that comparing the results from various different countries will help us find out how consistent the understanding of these terms are around the world."

Participants must be aged over 18 years to participate in the survey which takes about 30 minutes to complete. Visit: