Monday, December 22, 2014

Why are Women Better Wine Tasters Than Men?

It is often claimed that women are better wine tasters than men. The question is - are there any scientific facts to back up this claim?

This  gender difference is mainly related to the sense of smell and taste. The senses of smell and taste work together to successfully determine which food (and drink) is good and which is bad for us. Because of that, certain food smells good to us, while, for example rotten food is repulsive.

Thanks to the female hormone estrogen, women are able to detect odors in much lower concentration than men. Since fragrance represents about 75% of the total impression of a wine (and food and beverages in general), women in this regard have a significant advantage over men.

Furthermore, research of Dr. Linda Bartoshuk (Yale University, 1999.) has shown that women are twice as likely to be super tasters than men. Super tasters have up to a hundred times more taste buds (papillae) on the tongue than average tasters. Taste buds are responsible for transmission of taste. Women naturally have more of these papillae on the tongue than men.

All this makes women potentially better tasters. This means that, although women naturally have better physiological properties that are necessary for informed wine tasting, men (and women) can by exercising  evolve and improve these skills.

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