An overview of wine sensory characterization: from classical descriptive analysis to the emergence of novel profiling techniques

Catarina, MARQUES CITAB1, Alfredo AIRES CITAB1,  Elisete CORREIA2, Alice VILELA3
1 Centre for the Research and Technology of Agro-Environmental and Biological Sciences, Department of Biology and Environment, School of Life Sciences and Environment, University of Trás-os-Montes and Alto Douro
2 Center for Computational and Stochastic Mathematics (CEMAT), Dep. of Mathematics, IST-UL
3 Chemistry Research Centre (CQ-VR), Dep. of Biology and Environment, School of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro, Portugal

Email contact: catarina.ipsmarques[@]; alfredoa[@]; ecorreia[@]; avimoura[@]


The wine industry requires coexistence between tradition and innovation to meet consumers’ preferences. Sensory science allows the objective quantification of consumers’ understanding of a product and subjective feedback of consumer’s perception through acceptance or rejection of stimulus or even describing emotions evoked [1]. To measure sensations, emotions and liking, and their dynamics over time, time-intensity methods are crucial tools with growing interest in sensory science [2].

Aim: This research aimed to give a big picture of the latest investigation about sensory methods and their variations, and the successful application of sensory devices and immersive contexts in wine evaluation.

Methods: An overview of all the recent findings in sensory science methodologies, including sensory descriptive tests (quantitative descriptive analysis (ADQ), flash profiling, projective mapping and napping, check-all-that-apply (CATA), open-ended questions, preferred attribute elicitation method, polarised sensory positioning, free –choice profiling, sorting) [3], sensory discriminative tests (triangle test, tetrad test, duo-trio test, paired comparison, intensity scales, forced-choice tests) [4], sensory hedonic tests (hedonic methods, consumers' preference, and emotions), time-intensity methods (dual-attribute time-intensity, multiple-attribute time-intensity, temporal dominance of sensations), instrumental sensory devices and immersive techniques (e-nose, e-tongue, virtual reality, gaming) and sensory data treatment are reviewed.

Results: This study is the first attempt to characterize sensory methods and techniques, from classical descriptive analysis to the emergence of novel profiling techniques, comparing the different approaches and predicting some future research on this topic.

Conclusions: The characterization of sensory methods and techniques have been investigated in the literature. However, there is a limited articulation between descriptive, discriminative, hedonic tests and time-intensity methods as well as instrumental sensory devices and immersive techniques. Furthermore, statistical techniques in sensory science play a crucial role and increasingly allow a more precise sensory data analysis and more adapted to a complex product such as wine.


[1] A. Vilela et al., “Beverage and Food Fragrance Biotechnology, Novel Applications, Sensory and Sensor Techniques: An Overview,” Foods, vol. 8, no. 12, p. 643, 2019, doi: 10.3390/foods8120643.
[2] Q. C. Nguyen and P. Varela, “Identifying temporal drivers of liking and satiation based on temporal sensory descriptions and consumer ratings,” Food Qual. Prefer., vol. 89, no. November 2020, p. 104143, 2021, doi: 10.1016/j.foodqual.2020.104143.
[3] J. Liu, W. L. P. Bredie, E. Sherman, J. F. Harbertson, and H. Heymann, “Comparison of rapid descriptive sensory methodologies : Free-Choice Pro fi ling , Flash Pro fi le and modi fi ed Flash Pro fi le,” Food Res. Int., vol. 106, no. January, pp. 892–900, 2018, doi: 10.1016/j.foodres.2018.01.062.
[4] M. G. O’Sullivan, “Discrimination testing for reformulated products,” Salt, Fat Sugar Reduct., pp. 215–226, 2020, doi: 10.1016/b978-0-12-819741-7.00009-2.

Published on 05/24/2018
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