Investigating the language of red wine tasting notes across the US, the Australian and the Italian cultures


Wine tasting notes can be considered a multifunctional genre within the discourse of wine writing. They are a key instrument in the process of wine acculturation (López Arroyo, Roberts 2016, p. 371; Caballero 2009, p. 75) and of wine marketing and promotion. Tasting notes are a short text usually organized in three distinct sections containing the three steps of the evaluating procedure, that is to say the assessment of wines’ colour, smell (technically referred to as ‘nose’ in English and ‘naso’ or ‘profumo’ in Italian), and taste (defined by the technical term ‘palate’ and ‘palato’ or ‘gusto’ in Italian). Descriptions and labels may be said to be strategically elaborated in order to persuade potential customers to change or strengthen their thinking. Indeed, a number of studies suggest that the information on the label directly influence people’s perception of the quality and attributes of wine (Morgan, Tresidder 2016, p. 200), thus confirming the importance of tasting notes. Even though wine labels seem to be organised according to general and universal features, similar concepts related to taste and nose may be differently communicated by different cultures. In order to check this hypothesis, three comparable corpora have been assembled by downloading red wine tasting notes from Australian, US, and Italian winemakers’ websites and analysed by means of AntConc software for linguistic investigation. Furthermore, a qualitative analysis will also be carried out, in order to identify metaphors and check similarities and differences of usage in the three cultures. The analyses described in this paper may contribute to provide an overall description of the characteristics of this genre across languages, and to detect culture-influenced communicative differences, with important implications in the process of translation and international marketing strategies.


DOI Code: 10.1285/i22390359v39p247

Keywords: language of wine; corpus linguistics; phraseology; contrasting analysis; metaphors.


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