Placeholder Image

Subtitles section Play video

  • Hi. It's Neil from BBC Learning English here.

  • Just to let you know, we are offering a new weekly extra episode of 6 Minute English exclusively on our website!

  • So, go to to hear Georgina and I discussing how color can affect your mood.

  • It's available now. So, see you there!

  • Hello. This is 6 Minute English from BBC Learning English.

  • I'm Sam.

  • And I'm Rob.

  • Rob, would you describe yourself as a wine connoisseur?

  • If you mean am I someone who enjoys wine and knows a lot about it, then no - although the enjoy part is true -particularly a nice glass of red.

  • Of course, wine might not be everybody's cup of tea, not something they like, but wine has been an important part of history and language.

  • And even if you don't drink alcohol, wine can be used as a commodity you can invest in and sell at an auction.

  • And that brings me on to my quiz question, Rob.

  • In 2018, a bottle of wine dating back to 1774 sold at auction in eastern France for a record-breaking price.

  • Do you know how much it was sold for? Was it...

  • a) $20,800

  • b) $120,800

  • or c) $220,800?

  • I know wine can fetch a high price , but not as high as some of those options, so I'll say a) $20,800.

  • I'll reveal the answer later on. But let's talk more about wine now.

  • A glass of the stuff can be sipped and savoured or just glugged.

  • Glug is a good word, meaning drink in large gulps or mouthfuls, not something a wine expert would do.

  • For some people, drinking and serving wine is almost an art form.

  • If you go to a restaurant, there might be a sommelier, a person whose job is to serve and give advice about wine.

  • They may have had years of training to learn about the different types of wine and the individual flavors or aromas, known as notes.

  • This job has fascinated journalist and author Bianca Bosker.

  • She wrote a book called 'Cork Dorks'.

  • And here she is talking on the BBC World Service program The Why Factor, describing her fascination with sommeliers

  • These were people who had taken wine, which I always thought of as a thing of pleasure, something you turn to after a long stressful day, and turned it into something approaching sheer God-awful pain.

  • They licked rocks, trained their palates, they divorced their spouses to spend more time reviewing flash cards,

  • they had hired voice coaches and memory coaches, they took dance classes to learn how to move more gracefully across the dining room floor.

  • Like me, Bianca thought drinking wine was a pleasurable activity, something that helped her relax after a long stressful day.

  • So she was surprised at how sommeliers turned this activity into 'something approaching sheer God-awful pain'.

  • The word 'sheer' is used to emphasise the amount of something, or to mean 'nothing but'.

  • She thought the work of a sommelier was nothing but pain, they seemed to dedicate their life to wine!

  • One thing a sommelier does is train their palate, this is their ability to distinguish and appreciate different tastes and identify types of good wine from their taste.

  • I guess this is quite important.

  • But divorcing their spouses does seem a bit extreme!

  • I m afraid I wouldn't take it so seriously, I'll stick to drinking poorer quality, cheap red wine - sometimes called plonk!

  • WeIl, Rob, cheap wine doesn't always have to be poor quality.

  • Interestingly, there is some evidence that shows we only think wine tastes better because it's more expensive.

  • Ah yes, this is research Hilke Plassmann from INSEAD Business School in France spoke about on the BBC World Service's Why Factor program.

  • She's been looking into what influences consumer behavior.

  • The price tag affects that region in your brain that encodes your liking of the taste, so in other words, you not only think that you like the more expensive wine more, you feel you like the more expensive wine more,

  • because your brain region that encodes this feeling is influenced by the price tag.

  • So, our brain is possibly playing tricks on us.

  • When we see the price tag on a bottle of wine, our brain encodes the information and tells us how it should taste.

  • Encodes means changes the information into something that we can use or understand.

  • Drinking more expensive wine makes you think it tastes better.

  • So perhaps, when buying a supermarket wine or wine in a restaurant, it may be better telling yourself that the cheaper option is OK!

  • I'll drink to that! But I wonder how that most expensive bottle of wine ever sold at auction tastes?

  • The one dating back to 1774 that you asked me about.

  • So you thought it sold for $20,800, but sorry, Rob, that's too cheap.

  • It was in fact sold for $120,800.

  • I assume it wasn't drunk.

  • I hope not. Well, I think I'll stick to my plonk for now, Sam.

  • Plonk was one of our vocabulary words today and describes cheap, poor quality wine.

  • We also mentioned a connoisseur, someone who enjoys a particular thing and knows a lot about it.

  • A sommelier is someone who serves and gives advice about wine in a restaurant.

  • Sheer is a word used to emphasize the amount of something, or to mean 'nothing but'.

  • A palate describes someone's ability to distinguish and appreciate different tastes.

  • Finally, encodes means changes information into something we can use or understand.

  • But now we're out of time so 'cheers' everyone.

  • Thanks for listening and goodbye.

  • Goodbye.

Hi. It's Neil from BBC Learning English here.

Subtitles and vocabulary

Operation of videos Adjust the video here to display the subtitles

B1 wine rob sold price expensive auction

The language of wine - 6 Minute English

  • 10763 551
    林宜悉 posted on 2021/08/21
Video vocabulary