I am French so oenology is obviously a big thing here.

I then read from time to time that it is, generally speaking, a scam - "scam" being defined in various ways:

  • that the influence of the context (place, bottle, atmosphere) is preponderant and that the actual wine does not make much of a difference
  • that oenologists fail to differentiate wines and that the whole exercise lacks scientific methods and critical approach

In other words, it is presented in a similar way to homeopathy.

The concept of "good wine" seems to be very individual (I like wines which would be an abomination to others) and classification highly subjective (for lack of quantifiable reference) so I was wondering to what extend oenology is something more than a circle of reciprocal adoration and more like a quantifiable exercise.

EDIT: I am not asking whether the concept exists (it does) or whether it is studied (it is). This does not make it a scientific (reproducible, measurable) activity where people objectively decide whether a wine is good or not.

To take an analogy - painting is a completely subjective area. It is studied and people learn how to draw. This allows them to move from a stick figure to a realistic portrait. It does not mean that there is an objective classification of good and bad art, this is purely a biased decision of an individual or a group group with their own preferences.

Oenology is seen as a "science", that is a place where you can objectively decide about the quality of a wine, by tasting it. The competition is not done with a chromatograph but with someone who takes a sip, looks at the wine and says "this one is better than this other one".

  • 5
    Please clarify your question. That there is an area of (apparent) academic study called oenology is very obviously true. That is concerns wine-making is also true. And I do not think that this is what you are asking about; the people and institutions are obviously in existence. So, what exactly is your question?.
    – user32299
    Commented Mar 15, 2018 at 19:22
  • 2
    @MichaelK: OK - I did not mean of course whether the concept of oenology exists, it does. Nor whether it is studied, it is. Like homeopathy and religion - which do not make them real, scientifically speaking. I will clarify the question.
    – WoJ
    Commented Mar 15, 2018 at 20:09
  • 1
    @Giter: a sommelier, at least in France, is someone who knows wines but this is not the person who will rank them. he works in a restaurant and follows what oenologists stated about a specific wine. This may vary by countries, though.
    – WoJ
    Commented Mar 15, 2018 at 20:18
  • 2
    You still have not formed a question. The edit you made did not add one. What is the claim you are asking about and what is the question relating to it? You are just sort of rambling about hos this cannot... do... is not... what ever! But there is no sentence of the sort "Is this...", "Can this...", "Is this claim true..."
    – user32299
    Commented Mar 15, 2018 at 20:28
  • 1
    I am trying to figure out the source of the confusion between us by making a number of statements I believe are uncontroversial. If you disagree with any of them, we should be able to focus question on a specifc claim. Am I right when I say: Wine drinkers all prefer some tastes over others, subjectively. Many people - especially experts - share common opinions on what tastes good. Some people study how to make wines taste better, according to those tastes. Some people overestimate their ability to distinguish tastes. Science shows some factors bias people's opinions that aren't simply taste.
    – Oddthinking
    Commented Mar 16, 2018 at 5:01


Browse other questions tagged .