WSC216 Sensory Science (8)

This subject provides an introduction to the principles that underlie sensory assessment, particularly those relevant to taste, smell and mouthfeel. It includes 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.

This subject commences in session 1 and concludes in session 2. Students must enrol in both sessions 1 and 2. It is not possible to commence this subject in session 2.

Subject Outlines
Current CSU students can view Subject Outlines for recent sessions. Please note that Subject Outlines and assessment tasks are updated each session.

No offerings have been identified for this subject in 2018.

Where differences exist between the Handbook and the SAL, the SAL should be taken as containing the correct subject offering details.

Subject Information

Grading System



Two sessions


School of Agricultural and Wine Sciences

Assumed Knowledge

This subject requires assumed basic statistical knowledge.

Incompatible Subjects


Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this subject, students should:
  • Be able to describe the physiology of the perception of taste, smell, and texture, and chemesthesis.
  • Be able to understand the characteristics of the perception of samples with these sensory systems.
  • Be able to interpret 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 understand 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 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.


This 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

This subject contains a 4 day Compulsory Residential School.

A series of tutored tastings that facilitate discussion and provide practical examples that help emphasise key subject objectives. These enable students to; identify substances that influence key tastes, experience all wine styles and major varieties, practice threshold levels, identify wine faults and practice judging.

Special Resources

This subject has a residential school. Students will need to cover the cost of travel to campus and accommodation on campus. All students are required to have a lab coat, safety glasses and covered footwear for lab based practicals.


Current Students

For any enquiries about subject selection or course structure please contact Student Central or or phone on 1800 275 278.

Prospective Students

For further information about Charles Sturt University, or this course offering, please contact info.csu on 1800 275 278 (free call within Australia) or enquire online.

The information contained in the 2018 CSU Handbook was accurate at the date of publication: August 2018. The University reserves the right to vary the information at any time without notice.