IEE Newsletter No. 22

Research Activities: BlauPause Wine Tasting

IEE member Britta Niklas took the opportunity of the special event for the Ruhr-University's 50th anniversary to conduct a small research project, while offering visitors to test wines from different countries.

A growing body of research conducted over the last few years has shown, that what we listen to can change what we taste. Researchers began to wonder whether background sounds can impact on the taste and flavour of food and drinks. In collaboration with the London Symphony Orchestra, Spence et al. (2013) found out that people rated wines 10-12 % higher when matching music was played. However other factors may influence the tasting experience, especially when price information is missing (Plassmann et al. (2008).
Britta Niklas, research fellow at the IEE, tested the hypothesis that wine of a certain origin is rated higher if the music of the respective origin is played during the tasting. Moreover, information on age and gender was included in the analysis in order to find out whether age or gender plays a role in peoples' perception of the taste of wine.
Wine Tasting BlauPause
IEE members supporting the wine tasting survey at the BlauPause (photo: IEE)

At the BlauPause (with about 100.000 attendants), the IEE offered 4 red wines (origin Germany, France, South Africa, and Spain) and 4 white wines (origin Germany, France, South Africa, and Argentina) of similar quality and asked voluntary participants to rank the wines on a scale from 1 - 5, as well as indicating their overall favourite.
During the tasting, German, French, Spanish/Latin, or South African music was played. Prices, expert ratings, and producer names were not explicitly mentioned; however the origin of the wine was indicated.
Currently the results are being analysed using binary or multinominal logistic regression. The results will be available on the IEE website shortly, and will be presented in the next newsletter.

Plassmann, H., O'Doherty, J., Shiv, B. and Rangel, A. (2008). Marketing actions can modulate neural representations of experienced pleasantness. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences PNAS, 105, 1050-1054.
Spence, C., Richards, L., Kjellin, E., Huhnt, A.-M., Daskal, V., Scheybeler, A., et al.
(2013). Looking for crossmodal correspondences between classical music & fine
wine. Flavour, 2, 29.

NiklasDipl. Ök. Britta Niklas
Research Fellow and Coordinator
E-Mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Phone: +49 (0)234 / 32-25148
Fax: +49 (0)234 / 32-14294

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