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Prof Charles Spence

Head of the Crossmodal Research Laboratory
Oxford University

Prof Charles Spence is a cognitive neuroscientist and sensory marketing expert. He runs an industry-funded research laboratory that brings together marketers, designers, sensory scientists, chefs, composers, and psychologists interested in utilizing the latest insights from neuroscience to design products, packaging, services, interfaces, environments, and drinks that more effectively stimulate the senses of the consumer. He is a regular contributor to the World of Fine Wine and has published widely on the topic of blind wine tasting and the influence of environment on taste.

Taste and value: What makes a ‘good’ bottle of wine?

Repeated wine tastings and copious research confirm that it is almost impossible to ‘taste’ the price of wine. So, the question facing wine producers is this; where does the value in a bottle of wine lie and how can it be enhanced? In this presentation Prof. Spence will talk about latest research on how consumers’ experience of wine perception of value can be influenced. He’ll consider how a multi-sensory marketing approach will help the industry to create wines and drinking experiences that people will be prepared to pay more for.

He will reveal how a multi-sensory approach can:

  • Impact the experience of choosing, buying and drinking wine
  • Modify wine packaging to enhance consumer appreciation
  • Use one sense to change a consumer’s experience in another
  • Inform sensory marketing strategies
  • Create a sense of value and worth that resonates with consumers

Wine Vision Opening Reception

Beyond taste: Drinking wine with all your senses

Presented with Prof Barry C Smith, Founding Director of the Centre for the Study of the Senses, University of London

Bring an open mind and all of your senses for a multi-sensory experience that goes beyond taste to investigate how our perception of wine is affected by what we see, smell, hear and feel. Professors Spence and Smith, experts in the field of multi-sensory flavour and marketing, will take us on a wine-fuelled tour of the human senses, showing how each contributes to our enjoyment and appreciation of wine. Along the way you’ll be invited to use all your senses to experience some very fine wines – and to understand the neuroscience and philosophy that determine exactly why you perceive them in quite the way that you do. You can expect to find answers to questions you’ve hardly dared to ask including:

  • Does everybody taste wine the same way I do?
  • Is wine tasting purely subjective, or are there objective measures of ‘good’?
  • Where does smell stop and taste begin?
  • Can mood music, lighting, and ambience alter the taste of a wine?
  • What do the results of blind taste tests really mean?
  • And what wines should I drink when I’m flying?

Expect to have your perceptions enhanced and your mind altered as we investigate the world of ‘gastrophysics’ – the study of how psychology, cognitive neuroscience and multi-sensory design can help us market wine in new ways to experience-hungry modern consumers.

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