Wine connoisseurs, rejoice!
Not only does wine leave a delightful taste on the tongue, but drinking it could make you smarter. We’ll definitely ‘cheers’ to that.
According to Yale neuroscientist Gordon Shepherd, drinking wine activates more grey matter in the brain than listening to music and solving maths equations.
Shepherd explores the connection between your brain and your ability to interpret the flavour of wine in his book Neuroenology: How the Brain Creates the Taste of Wine.
The act of drinking wine is a composite process; it involves many different elements, including the way in which you sip the wine, how your tongue moves the wine around in your mouth, how your nose responds to the aroma of wine and so on.
Speaking to the National Public Radio, Shepherd explains why his research on wine tasting goes beyond simply analysing the wine to focusing on the drinkers themselves.
“You don’t just put wine in your mouth and leave it there,” he says.
“You move it about and then swallow it, which is a very complex motor act.”
The brain plays a very important role in deciphering the taste of wine. Shepherd likened it to the way our eyes perceive colours.
“The analogy one can use is colour. The objects we see don’t have colour themselves – light hits them and bounces off,” he explains.
“It’s when light strikes our eyes that it activates systems in the brain that create colour from those different wavelengths.
“Similarly, the molecules in wine don’t have taste or flavour, but when they stimulate our brain, the brain creates flavour the same way it creates colour.”
So, by enjoying the succulent flavours of a Sauvignon Blanc, you’ll actually be engaging your brain in a very mindful activity.
Keep that in mind when the drinks are flowing this Christmas.