WSC510 Sensory Science (8)


This subject provides an introduction at a post graduate level to the principles that underlie sensory assessment, particularly those relevant to taste, smell and mouthfeel. It includes and explores the physiology and characteristics of the senses, the application of various sensory testing procedures, and the application of these principles to the sensory assessment of wine, grape juice and some wine faults.
Distance Education students are required to attend a compulsory residential school as a requirement for this subject.

+ Subject Availability Modes and Location

Session 1
Distance*Wagga Wagga Campus

*This subject offering contains a residential school. Please view following information for further details.

Continuing students should consult the SAL for current offering details: WSC510
Where differences exist between the Handbook and the SAL, the SAL should be taken as containing the correct subject offering details.

Subject information

Duration Grading System School
One session HD/FL School of Agricultural and Wine Sciences

Enrolment restrictions

Incompatible subject(s) Related subject(s)
WSC210 WSC210 Paired Subject

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this subject, students should:
  • Be able to demonstrate an understanding of the characteristics of the perception of samples with these sensory systems.
  • Be able to interpret and record the appearance of samples in terms of the principles of colour vision.
  • Be able to distinguish analytic and hedonic assessment; understand the role of training in sensory assessment, and how to control the sensory testing environment.
  • Be able to demonstrate an understanding of the variability of sensory data, identify the relevant sensory tests that may be required to assess a situation, and interpret their sensory data appropriately.
  • Be able to accurately apply their knowledge of sensory principles to wine and grape juice evaluation, to identify the important sensory characteristics and their balance.
  • Be able to distinguish the nature and balance of the sensory characteristics in wines and relate those features to wine type, grape variety wine style and wine processing.
  • Be able to recognise some wine faults.
  • Be able to accurately describe the physiology of the perception of taste, smell and texture and chemesthesis


The subject will cover the following topics:
  • The senses: contrasts of capabilities and physiology; the roles of flavour, odour, taste, texture and appearance.
  • The senses of taste and smell: the sensations, receptors, and their characteristics and interaction, nasal and retronasal pathways, odorant-structure relationships, adaptation, hunger and ageing.
  • Texture: texture types, texture terms and perceptions.
  • Chemesthesis: receptor types, sensation types, sensitisation and adaptation.
  • Appearance: principles of colour vision; attributes of appearance;
  • Sensory assessment: analytic vs hedonic assessment, the role of training, principles of sensory response behaviour, the role of statistics, control of the sensory testing environment.
  • Sensory testing: difference tests, measurement of sensory thresholds, scaling and ranking.
  • Application of sensory principles to wine assessment, the basic tastes, taste interactions, influence of ethanol content, comparison of major wine types, bitterness and astringency, sensory thresholds, influence of wine pH and ageing.
  • Role of odour: interaction of taste and smell, influence of grape variety, introduction to regional effects.
  • Introduction to wine judging, the Australian wine show system, judging wines.

Residential School

Residential school is required for tutored tastings in order for the student to become familiar with the his/her own palate. Specifically the student practices their recognition and descriptive abilities for detecting basic tastes, smells, and textures. Wine and wine-like solutions are introduced in order for the students to increase their proficiency in describing sensory characteristics and relate these features to wine styles. The identification of wine faults is also practised.

This subject contains a compulsory 4 day residential school.

Specialised Resources

Students are required to attend the compulsory residential school which will involve travel expenses and a time commitment. 
Students will also be required to purchase a lab coat and safety goggles which are compulsory for lab based practicals.