We invited customers into a pitch black room

We invited customers – hundreds of them – into a pitch black room to taste wines. They couldn’t see a thing. Served by guys in night vision goggles.

Before they tasted the first wine they were handed a piece of soft velvet cloth to feel. They all gave that wine a high score. Before the next taste they were given a piece of sandpaper to rub. That time the wine got low scores. The two wines were identical. From the same bottle. So the wine didn’t change … but they did.

Laithwaites ‘Tasting in the Dark’ experience

This wasn’t a new discovery for us in the wine world. Professor Peynaud pulled a similar trick on his cocky young students (including me) back in the ‘60’s, to make them realise they were not all automatically God’s gift to wine tasting. It was proved to me there, at Bordeaux University Wine Institute that whenever I thought a wine was ‘off’ it was just as likely it was me that was ‘off’ and that could be for a multitude of reasons; health or just the foul mood I was in. 

So does music change a wine? Maybe. Does it change those tasting it? Certainly. 

I just remembered … we work with a wine producer in the Napa Valley who’s tasting room is entirely done out in red velvet. They do very well indeed.


About Tony Laithwaite

Tony Laithwaite, founder of Laithwaite's, whose passion for wine is still going strong!

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