Oddly enough, the research is being conducted in a storefront window on a London street.

By Mike Pomranz
Updated May 13, 2019
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Let’s be real: The audible pop a bottle makes when a cork is pulled is pretty awesome. Is any sound as synonymous with getting the fun started? Sure, the crack of a beer (or wine) can isn’t too shabby, but it doesn’t quite score as highly on the all-important classiness meter. Now, an interesting new experiment hopes to prove that there’s even more to that cork pop than meets the eye: Does the sound of a “pop” actually make the wine taste better?

Let’s get this out of the way up top: This study doesn’t come from scientists at Oxford. It wasn’t conducted in a laboratory at Harvard. “The Grand Cork Experiment,” as it is called, is being funded by the Portuguese Cork Association (APCOR) – out of their promotions budget no less – and is being conducted in a converted event space in the hip London neighborhood of Soho. In fact, the Experiment’s whole experience is basically a tribute to the cork… which is a bit of a shame because the experiment itself is damn interesting.

Participants are given four wines and a set of headphones. The wines are served in pairs, but – here’s the rub – before the tastings, drinkers either hear the sound of a cork popping or a screwcap being twisted open. They’re then asked to rate the wines on quality, intensity and how much they invoked a feeling of celebration. Needless to say, the people at the Cork Association have their bias as to how they hope the results pan out. “We think the sound of a cork popping makes you perceive that the wine is better,” APCOR Chairman João Rui Ferreira told The Drinks Business.

Sadly, we don’t yet know the results of the test – regardless of how biased they may be: The event is currently happening today and tomorrow. The hope is that about 300 people will be involved in the experiment over those two days. We’ll try to let you know the results when we hear them; unless of course the screwcap wins, in which case we’ll probably never hear about this experiment ever again!