Wine Tasting Presentation by French Professor, Nov. 15
Wine Tasting Presentation by French Professor, Nov. 15

When it comes to wine tasting, what separates the experts from the novices? Knowledge, not necessarily talent, according to French professor Dr. Dominique Valentin, who hails from the famous Burgundy wine region of France.

Valentin will share that and other observations when she makes a presentation entitled “What Makes a Wine and a Wine Taster?” at 4 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 15, at her alma mater, The University of Texas at Dallas (UTD). Valentin, an associate professor with the Chemical Sciences Institute at the University of Burgundy at Dijon, earned a Ph.D. degree in cognition and neuroscience from UTD.

Members of the public are invited to attend the talk, to be held in room MC 2.410 in the McDermott Library, and a reception that follows. Admission is free.

Valentin will briefly describe the history of wine tasting and explore the different components involved in the subjective experience of tasting a wine – olfaction (smell), gustation (taste) and texture perception. She will also compare the performance of expert and novice tasters when they are asked to discriminate, sort, describe and recognize different wines.

“Experts are better at describing wines so that other tasters can recognize the wines,” said Valentin. “Experts also have a well-developed knowledge of wines’ expected olfactory properties.

“However, experts are not strikingly better at processing the perceptual properties of wines. So it seems that expert wine tasters differ from novice tasters more by their knowledge and practice than by their perceptual abilities or their natural talents.”

Valentin’s current research is concerned with the cognition of non-verbal information such as visual perception and memory for smell. She has published extensively on the effect of expertise in processing sensory information.

Valentin is the second of five faculty members from the University of Burgundy at Dijon scheduled to lecture at UTD under an exchange of scholars between the two institutions during the 2001-2002 school year. Six members of the UTD faculty will visit Dijon during the same period.

For additional information about the lecture series, please call UTD’s School of Human Development at 972-883-2355.

About UTD

The University of Texas at Dallas, located at the convergence of Richardson, Plano and Dallas in the heart of the complex of major multinational technology corporations known as the Telecom Corridor, enrolls more than 7,000 undergraduate and 5,000 graduate students. The school’s freshman class traditionally stands at the forefront of Texas state universities in terms of average SAT scores. The university offers a broad assortment of bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs. For additional information about UTD, please visit the university’s web site at

Media Contact: The Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected].