The Psychology of Wine

Wine / Wednesday, April 17th, 2024

It occurred to me today that four members of the current or past Somerled Cellar door team have or are working towards a Psychology Degree.



Or perhaps there is a connection between wine and psychology?

At the very least, it means that although wine can’t solve all your problems, a visit to Somerled to chat to one of our knowledgeable staff might!

Seriously though, you may be interested to know that our wine preference and experiences can be influenced by the way we think and feel. 

Let’s find out more…


How Expectations Shape Taste

Ever noticed how your expectations can influence the taste of a wine. or at least how you perceive the wine to taste.

Our brains are powerful interpreters of sensory information, and they often rely on past experiences and expectations to shape our perceptions.

Often, if you believe a wine is expensive and prestigious, you’re more likely to enjoy it. Regardless of its actual quality. Especially if it has been recommended or “talked-up” by someone you admire or trust.

On the flip side, if you have negative preconceptions about a wine, you might find faults in its flavour. Even if it’s objectively well-made.


The Influence of Environment

Where you enjoy your wine can have a significant impact on how you experience it.

Factors like lighting, background music, and even the company you’re in can all influence your perception of flavour. It’s probably one of the reasons all of Rob’s wines taste so good at the Cellar Bar!

Research shows that ambient noise levels, for example, can affect how we perceive sweetness and acidity in wine.

So, whether you’re sipping a glass at a bustling bar or enjoying a quiet evening at home, your environment plays a crucial role in shaping your wine experience.


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Emotions and Memories

Did you know that your emotional state can affect how you perceive wine?

Positive emotions can enhance your enjoyment by triggering the release of neurotransmitters associated with pleasure and reward.

Conversely, negative emotions or stress can dull your sensory perceptions, making it harder to appreciate the nuances of a wine.

Plus, our memories of past wine experiences can influence how we approach new tastings. A wine that reminds you of a cherished memory may evoke feelings of nostalgia and joy, enhancing your overall enjoyment.


The Art of Labelling

Believe it or not, the design of a wine label can influence how you perceive the wine inside the bottle.

Labels convey a story and set expectations about the wine’s quality and style. So, before you even take a sip, you’ve already formed an impression based on the label’s aesthetic.

I wonder if our fancy new Fume Blanc label makes it taste better?!



Next time you uncork a bottle of your favourite wine, take a moment to consider how these factors could be influencing your experience.

Which goes to show that wine is more than just a beverage—it’s an opportunity to get your brain working almost as much as your palate! 


And remember to hit Lucy, Will or myself up at the bar if you’ve had a hard day*! It’s all part of the service!


* Of course, if you really are having a hard time, we would always suggest you get the help of a practicing psychologist. But we’re more than happy to lend an ear in a non-professional sense!

6 Replies to “The Psychology of Wine”

  1. Hey Maree, nice blog this week! Who knew so many things influence how we enjoy a glass of wine?
    And you are right – Rob’s wines do taste better when enjoyed at the Somerled Cellar bar and Club lounge!

  2. Excellent article thanks Maree. I’ll try not to get too wound up about it next time I reach for a bottle but, which bottle is definitely influences by the things mentioned in the article.

    Love your work!

  3. I can’t argue with you on that one, Kymmie! It’s so great that you’re able t do it on a semi-regular basis 🙂

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