Certain behaviors seem so natural and mundane to us that we rarely wonder how or why they occur. For instance, think about the occasional glass of wine that we drink. Neurogastronomy has implied that it's ultimately our brain that allows us to taste wine. In fact, we can thank our brains for allowing us to taste anything delicious (or awful, for that matter) just like it allows us to "see" color. 

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Alex Frank

There are already many known health benefits of drinking wine, so what's new? According to a Yale scientist, drinking wine takes a lot of brain power - even more than when we're trying to solve multivariable calculus problems.

Our brain goes through a complicated process to allow us to create the flavor of wine. And the process begins before we even take our first sip. As soon as we look at the bottle of wine, our brain starts to anticipate the taste of it. When the wine is poured, the wine particles enter your nose, which adds to the anticipation of the flavor.

Then, when you take a sip, the brain practically goes off in fireworks. The smell, sound and most importantly, the feel of wine in your mouth activates many complex sensory and motor systems in the brain, which leads to the development of flavor and “perceptual image of wine.” 

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Alex Frank

At this point, there are two crucial ways to enhance the flavor of wine. First, breathing in the wine as we sip allows us to smell the wine from the back of your nose, which makes up a lot of the flavor. Second, moving the wine around in our mouth to cover all the tastebuds is important and apparently involves more complex movements than those used to form speech. 

Alex Frank

This rather dramatic experience for a taste of wine culminates in a symphony of activations in the brain's language, reward, emotion and memory system. The journey of wine tasting winds down as the wine is swallowed and digested and we’re left with the sweet lingering taste on our tongues, which adds the last touch to the flavor of wine we perceive. 

So does this mean we should all ditch our homework and go drink wine instead? I don't think that's the message here. Rather, it shows that the way we perceive food doesn't have to come just by making it look prettier or finding the right lighting for those Instagram pictures. We have the ability to taste things differently right in the powerhouses of our own bodies.