The human factor

by Daniele Cernilli 09/09/19
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fattore umano cervello

The human factor, due to its subjective nature, cannot be eliminated when tasting wines but there does exist a relative objectivity that allows for opinions that are more or less reliable and authoritative when it comes to tasting wines and visiting wineries and vineyards.

Everyone in the world has their own view of things, a set of values they believe in and abides by. When one expresses an opinion they make a judgement, a choice, each applying, even in an immediate way, these values. This means that in every aspect of life one’s subjectivity cannot be eliminated, even when one wants to, because convictions and points of view play a key role. Thus, when it comes to “objectivity”, it is necessary to first define the meaning of the term. Absolute objectivity can never exist because it is impossible to ignore who we are, thinking beings. If, on the other hand, objectivity is understood to be seeking to be not too personal in our judgements, seeking to be impartial and trying to take into account factors that perhaps are not immediately part of one’s view, then we have a kind of “relative” objectivity that is more practical.

All this is to introduce the theme of “objective” wine tastings, as it is understood to be. This also underscores how the so-called human factor is something that one cannot escape. Both from the point of view of the sensorial aspects that derive from an organoleptic evaluation of a wine and from a “philosophic” point of view that can be based, for example, on exalting the territorial aspects of a wine. This has to do with the aromas and flavors of the varietal as well as other factors like eco-sustainability in production, the quality/price ratio, the capacity a wine and its producer have in representing something that goes beyond the simple concept of taste. Wines that are “moving” are moving because people are moved by drinking them and there is not category for the “moving” aspect because its by definition subjective. What may move me, for example, may not move others who have different tastes and points of view. This exists not only in the world of wine but in all other worlds imaginable where one expresses an opinion, a preference, a value judgement and there is no way around it because we are all different with personal views on the world. And this is a blessing, I might add.

There is no doubt that there exist views that are more or less documented, more or less reliable, more or less authoritative in regards and based on how much one knows about a certain subject or their life experiences or how many wines they have tasted and how many wineries and vineyards they have visited. But even those considered to be very competent cannot avoid that tad of the human factor that draws a line between knowledgeability and “objective” infallibility and, for me, it is much better like this.





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