why blind

People have been tasting wine for literally centuries. Some say wine tasting originated in medieval times to ensure the bottle wasn’t poisoned; others to prove sketchy tavern keepers had not watered down the draught. Wine makers taste hundreds of samples to ensure a quality quaff.

Blind tasting, though, is more a challenge than insurance policy. Humans are innately biased; our brains store clips of experience to develop a frame of reference for future decisions. If you know fire is hot, you won’t put your finger in a flame. Theoretically.

But to taste wine, we need objectivity. Studies show that if we know a wine is more expensive, or from a certain region, even red or white, it taints our opinion. To wit, one needs a blank palate.

The paper bag levels the playing field.

Whilst objectivity is the external rationale, there are personal benefits too. Psychology Today affirms the pleasure of blind tasting “naked” (we assume they mean the wine). Testing our senses, recalling past wines, and challenging others are all mentally rewarding. Being right is also quite satisfying.

But remember, even if you get crushed in WineGame, you learn something. The more one plays, the more info is gathered to parlay into future guesses. Even if you don’t come out the winner (thus far no one, even Master Somms, has a perfect score) you get to drink wine with friends. In the words of F. Scott Fitzgerald: “Wine gave a sort of gallantry to their own failure.”