Lighting influences how wine tastes and how much consumers are willing to pay for it, based on a series of three German experiments in which more than 500 people tasted white Riesling wines. The study report, “Ambient Lighting Modifies the Flavor of Wine,” was published in the December 2009 issue of Journal of Sensory Studies.

The only significant variable in the experiments was the ambient lighting in the spaces where study participants sat. Researchers used a series of fluorescent lamps that produced red, blue, green or white light. People rated the wine’s quality higher, in general, when they drank it in a room whose ambient lighting was red or blue versus green or white. They also found the test wine much sweeter and fruitier when sampled in a room illuminated by red-tinted fluorescent lamps, and were willing to spend more for it.

Hat tip National Lighting Bureau.