Not gonna lie, being a wine connoisseur can make you feel pretty darn sophisticated and smart! But, did you know that it actually does make you smarter? Seriously, it’s true! At least according to Yale neuroscientist Gordon Shepherd.
Drinking Wine Exercises Both Sides of the Brain
Wine drinking requires first sniffing, then swilling the wine on the different side of your mouth. Shepherd points out that this activity is a complex motor process involving several areas of the brain. The researcher covers the connection between interpreting wine flavors and the brain in detail in his book, “Neuroenology: How the Brain Creates the Taste of Wine.”
Shepherd compares the unique ways our brain processes the taste of wine to the way we process colors. According to neuroscientists, no two people see color exactly the same. Objects themselves do not have color but are “colored” based on the way the light hits our eyes. Do you remember the picture circulating a few years back of the dress that was either black and blue or white and gold? Well, it’s a perfect example of people seeing the same thing but their eyes process the reflected light differently. Shepherd explains the same things happens when we drink wine. The molecules of the wine actually trigger several different interpretations of the taste, and your brain determines the taste you truly experience.
For an example of the dress in the wine world, look no further than the tannins found in wine. Some people may be more sensitive to the taste of tannins, finding certain red wines too bitter or alcoholic and certain white wines too dry. On the other hand, others may find the same wine the complete opposite.
How Wine Makes You Smarter
Shepherd’s research about how wine makes us smarter bears out. He goes on to say that when our brain interprets the wine flavors, it is entering a state of mindfulness, similar to that brought on by meditation. Even more surprisingly, he compares it to reading a good book, or even learning a new language!
Since wine tasting requires the use of all your senses, it makes sense (no pun intended). The first swirl, then sniffing, then swirling it in your mouth to get all the flavors. According to Shepherd, even your memories are more active since smell receptors are so close to where we store long-term memories. Smell also plays a crucial role in the wine tasting experience. All in all, it seems that drinking a glass of wine in moderation keeps your brain more active than a multitude of other activities.
So, what does this mean? Well, we’ve all known for years that a glass of red wine with dinner can promote a healthy heart. But who knew that it could also improve your Sudoku game!