Sensory Evaluation Online Class, Lesson One at WSU

Winter seems like a good time to take another online class at Washington State University. These classes are a good value. You have until December 31st to complete access to the class. This class is Sensory Evaluation taught by Dr. Carolyn Ross. The class format includes a video and PowerPoint presentation. You can print the presentation and use it to take notes while viewing the video that you should download to your computer. The video also shows the PowerPoint presentation and Dr. Ross. Immediately you connect with the instructor who is from Canada. I thought she was after hearing her pronunciation of “process.” Later she stated she was from Canada.

The first lesson included information about human senses and the need to apply the scientific method to sensory evaluation. The scientific method is a recurring theme of this course. There is a slight negative view toward experts who evaluate wine, who may have biases. In lieu of experts it is suggested to have a panel that can evaluate a wine using quantifiable data. Data can then be analyzed and results interpreted. Eight members on the panel would be an appropriate size.

The class then shifted to a discussion of taste, wine quality and sensory attributes. An overview of the tasting process was presented. When determining a wine’s quality, it is important to not take into account whether you like the wine or don’t like the wine.

This class seems to have a wide spread appeal to more than winemakers. Wine writers and consumers may enjoy the class and broaden their understanding of sensory evaluation. Home winemakers should consider taking the class. The first wine Dr. Ross mentioned was rhubarb wine. I’m looking forward to future lessons.

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