Dr. Gary Pickering’s Supertaster Wine Kit and Mouthfeel Wheel (Video)

Our guest this evening is a Professor of Wine Science and researcher at Brock University’s Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute, in Niagara. He holds a doctorate in Wine Science from Lincoln University in Canterbury.

His focus is on wine flavour and sensory science. He has published more than 100 papers, patents, book chapters and conference proceedings.

He is the inventor of the white wine mouthfeel wheel and the supertasting kit, and is co-developer of the Wine Aroma Kits. He’s the recipient of a number of research awards, and is passionate about wine education, and of course, wine.

And he joins me live now from his home in Niagara: Welcome to the Sunday Sipper Club Dr. Gary Pickering!

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Dr. Gary Pickering, a Professor of Wine Science and researcher at Brock University’s Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute, in Niagara, Canada. He holds a doctorate in Wine Science from Lincoln University in Canterbury, and prior to his current appointment was a lecturer at Charles Stuart University in Australia and senior lecturer and research manager at the Eastern Institute of Technology in New Zealand. His teaching and research focus on wine flavour, sensory science and development of novel wine products and processes, and he has published over 100 papers, patents, book chapters and conference proceedings. Gary is the recipient of a number of research awards, is passionate about wine and wine education, and is working on a number of books.

Gary is inventor of the white wine mouthfeel wheel and the supertasting kit, and is co-developer of the Wine Aroma Kits. In addition to his work as President of Picksen International Inc, Gary serves as an international wine judge, most recently for Cuvee and InterVin. He also enjoys a good glass of wine!




White Wine Mouthfeel Wheel




Supertasting Kit





What was the exact moment when you decided to teach wine in an academic setting rather than say make wine? Where were you? Why were you intrigued?

What is a supertaster?

Do more women than men generally tend to be supertasters?


What is the wine supertaster kit?

Why did you decide to develop it?

Is it mainly those in the wine business who buy it?


Have any famous people inside or outside the wine business used it?

What was the most surprising insight you discovered while creating the kit?

What’s the most interesting thing that someone has said about the kit?



How does taste sensitivity, in general, influence peoples’ wine behaviour?

Is umami important in wine?

Is this in any way related to your research on how those who are good at perceiving sensations, like bitterness and astringency in food, more likely to consume all kinds of alcoholic beverages, while those who respond strongly to qualities such as sourness and umami are less likely to drink wine in particular?

Why is that?



Why umami in particular as it means savoury or tasty generally?

Taste also includes “chemesthetic” responses to astringency and metallic sensations as well as prickliness, viscosity and heat. How do these taste sensations affect whether we like wine or not?

What were the consequences or changes, if any, in the wine industry, or for the people involved?



Tell us about the white wine mouthfeel wheel?

Are you going to develop one for red wine? Other wine types?



What’s the biggest difference in mouthfeel for red and white wines?

We tend to focus on wine’s aromas and flavours. Why is mouthfeel important in wine?



Tom Noland29:04 I agree and I always try to give a description of body of the wine in my description. Mouth feel is easy to detect but difficult to describe.


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Lise Charest Gagne41:37 Some different textures put me in a mood. Example crisp texture makes me what to run off the dock into the lake. Full body silky makes me want to get in front of the fire..




Phyllis Cook26:08 Hi, I am not a super-taster, but I would sure love to be! I do enjoy good wine and cheese anyway, no matter what.


Jamie Bothen14:49 ooh I love bourbon, and it goes really well mixed with blackberry wine, was turned on to it by a wine maker , he asked if I would like bourbon in his blackberry wine- thought he was insane but it’s kiiler good in winter


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Lise Charest Gagne53:43 I need this kit for my girls wine club



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Elaine Bruce23:31 I focus on smells in the market – it’s amazing how different apples smell




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Elaine Bruce22:12 I could smell sulpher from a match as I drove by someone lighting a cigarette




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Elaine Bruce8:39 Definately on the right track ..science + wine = 😀




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Beverly Asleson50:35 Thank you Gary it was excellent




Jamie Bothen24:51 I think the best wines are one you get lost in when you smell them



Jamie Bothen18:47 I have a friend who has no smell so she just judges by taste


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Lori Sweet42:10 Is there a mouthfeel wheel for both red and white?



Patti Wright Hollander50:06 Enjoyed the discussion so very much.


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Lise Charest Gagne21:41 I’m so fascinated by this cheers and hello




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Lise Charest Gagne28:48 What do the formal wine training agencies think of these mouthfeel terms?


Carolyn Hetke33:36 I find if I take an allergy pill that dries my nose out it limits the sensations as well


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Melanie Lloyd50:15 Loved the topic. Thanks Dr Gary Pickering and Natalie!




Tom Noland52:27 Definitely worth the time. Great topic.
Michael Garboll46:34 Thank you Dr. Gary for my ‘bubbles-super taster.
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Melanie Lloyd24:53 ..so does this mean one can learn to be a super taster or just a better taster?



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Jim Clarke17:12 How linked is one’s sense of smell to sense of taste?




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Jim Clarke15:23 Does taste ‘ability’ degrade with age?




Michael Garboll24:38 Awesome topic Natalie/Dr.Gary. There are times , often when I have a respiratory tract viral infection and to my chagrin, my taste in wine becomes temporarily ( thank heaven) ‘distorted’ .Is there a physiological reason for this?


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Jim Clarke21:49 is there any way to improve the chance of regaining/improving smell and/or taste?




Alejandra Schmidt50:10 Natalie MacLean I love your guest, every time I learn something new


Tom Noland21:12 I thought I was a super taster until I got tested and nothing! My sons are super tasters. However, I do think my sense of smell is quite acute. I can smell someone smoking in the area (upwind) up to 100 feet away. This seems to enhance my enjoyment of wine.


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Jim Clarke28:49 I was at the Winnipeg Wine show years ago, and realized after a while that when tasting I was literally feeling shapes on my palate, ie the tastes hit y mouth in a geometric shape, round, flat,points, and even triangular – as if only specific taste buds were being hit….



Michael Garboll43:05 My daughter-in-law deems herself a super taster. She is not enamoured with ‘bubblies’. I feel sad that this happens for ‘special occasion situations .It’s often hard to ‘please everyone’ in seasoning, and therefore pairing a wine with food. Any best answer Dr. G to do a ‘work around’.


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Jim Clarke50:17 Recommended New Zealand Whites?



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Paul E Hollander51:28 Good discussion this evening.




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Elaine Bruce28:16 Is ‘texture’ related to body ?



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Elaine Bruce7:27 Hi – fascinating topic !!!


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Elaine Bruce24:56 Love the sensory kits !


Michael Garboll53:19 Science rules !
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Jim Clarke51:34 How about cheese super-tasters?

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Jim Clarke53:03 We need Gary back again

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Lise Charest Gagne50:27 Thank you!!!! Please come back


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Deborah Podurgiel53:18 Great Chat. Thank You, Natalie, Dr. Gary.


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Lori Sweet50:27 Great discussion!

Michael Garboll49:33 Awesome guy!
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Elaine Bruce17:06 I lost my sense of smell and taste for a bit *due to health- they all came back in stages, but even more so now. I dont think anyone quite believed me and it was only when a chef called Grant Achatz described what happened to him, that it all made sense.
Flavours, not only in wine but all tastes is why I’m also obsessed with herbs etc. I often open a wine, just to smell for a while, before tasting it even

Peter Neilson44:25 Any comment on “taste memory”?. I was spoiled many years ago, when, around age 22, I was lucky enough to share a bottle of 1961 Musigny. It was, without any question whatsoever, the most delicious, memorable wine in my life, and i have spent my life trying to repeat that experience – without success. Musigny is, unfortunately, out of my price range. 8-) But I still remember it (and routinely describe it) as drinking liquid velvet, with notes of tobacco, rich earth and leather. It was exquisite, and I can remember it like it was yesterday. Is this memory real, or imagined?
Peter Neilson18:41 I used to consider myself a super-taster. I could taste very subtle nuances in food (and wine) that others could not taste. I could also smell someone smoking in a car ahead of us on 401. I caught a really bad cold/flu two years ago, which nullified my sense of taste while I was sick (not unusual with a cold), but when I got better,. that “super sense ” I had previously, seemed to be gone. I believe some of that has returned since than. But I sure don’t have it to the extent I had before. However, my son seems to have inherited it. When we were tasting in Niagara two weeks ago, we were at Two Sisters Winery,and they opened a very nice Cabernet Franc for us to taste. The server asked us what we thought, and my son, swirling it commented he hadn’t tasted it yet, because all he could smell so far was the cork. He was trying to swirl that way before he gave it a taste.


Tom Noland41:15 Question: Physiologically ripe tannins seem to be the goal of most wine makers, so what is a physiologically ripe tannin?


Michael Garboll48:59 Does alcohol percentage alter tasting?
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Lise Charest Gagne45:45 Question can supertasters tolerate made to order single notes wines?


Tom Noland53:09 Tasting wheel with different textures was the most valuable.


Phyllis Cook54:25 Fantastic stuff!
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Beverly Asleson32:25 What is your favorite wine?



























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