What Jancis Robinson Didn’t Know May Have Helped Her

Erkenntnis 84 (4):805-822 (2019)
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A position has been advanced by a number of philosophers, notably by Burnham and Skilleås, that certain knowledge is required to aesthetically appreciate a fine wine. They further argue that pleasure is not an integral part of aesthetically appreciating wine. Their position implies that a novice cannot aesthetically appreciate a fine wine. This paper draws on research into tasting and psychology to rebut these claims. I argue that there is strong evidence from both the average consumer and from wine experts that they are unable to separate enjoyment from aesthetic evaluation; secondly, I argue that wine knowledge may actually preclude tasting of the wine as it exists in the glass due to perceptual bias. I conclude by arguing that it is unclear how exactly knowledge of things like terroir is supposed to affect the taste, as well as question what role conforming to a certain style plays in aesthetic success, as arguments that require knowledge for appreciation typically emphasize knowledge of styles of wine.



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David Sackris
Arapahoe Community College