Drinking can make some people more confident. Why? Because they’re getting drunk and looser and more fun and all that business.
But the confidence afforded by drinking wine, specifically, might be more complicated than we think: tasting wine and being able to articulate what is hitting the palate can boost one’s confidence. Why? Because we’re pulling a description out of nowhere, prescribing an attitude or point of view to something it clearly is not.
This is the subject of an excellent Science Of Us examination of wine as it relates to thinking. The story follows Bianca Bosker, a writer turned sommelier who recently authored the book Cork Dork. She appears to be a very cool, very smart wine person who I very much appreciate for describing scent as such.
“If you don’t speak a language, it’s just sounds, right?” she says. “And once you actually learn to associate meaning to those sounds, they can tell you a poem. They can tell you a story.” Likewise, one of the first steps toward gaining wine expertise is building a bigger wine-related vocabulary.
Tasting things is a language unto itself! I love that. As an owner of a huge nose who has a very sensitive sense of smell, I can identify with this.
To this, a nuanced sense of smell is more than being able to tell if food is going bad or not. In the wine world, a lot of one’s job is to drink a wine or taste something and to be able to describe what it reminds of. To be able to do this, to rely on one’s own “vocabulary” to diagnose, takes a mastery. With that comes confidence.
Bosker—via Science Of Us—explains.
In order to blind-taste skillfully enough to earn a sommelier certification, “you have to have so much confidence in your own felt experience of the world,” she says. “You have to be like, I’m not going to be biased by price. I’m not going to be biased by the descriptions. I’m not going to be biased by what I think you might have brought.” Instead, you have to learn to listen to your own judgment. It’s a self-assuredness that’s spilled over into other parts of her life: art, literature, food. “For me, learning to blind-taste was an experience that made me feel like I could be more true to my own perceptions in everything,” she said.
Interesting. Very interesting.
For those seeking to be comfortable with their own judgement, try wine. Take a class on how to refine your taste. Become a sommelier. It might pay off in all aspects of life as you can be a better decision maker. You also will get a little buzzed too.