The Lightning Wine Review

The Lightning Wine Review 

I deliver a theoretical, methodological, and gastronomic introduction to the power and potential of metaphor in communication.

Swirl, Smell, Sip, & Scribe.

Wine Tasting

Wine language initiates a narrative, an expression of the wines place and the wine maker who brings it to life; it is a combination of earth and weather conditions, vineyard and grape variety; it has a cultural and historical background and a language of its own. 

WSET Qualified Coach.


Wine is, after all, a definitively human phenomenon, made by people for people to experience and enjoy. 

Book your group workshop now!


Social interaction, creative thinking, and collaborative problem-solving to help people re-think and transform communication. 

Tailored for your group

An interactive and hands-on workshop featuring Australian wine conducted over one hour (one wine sample; red or white) or two hours (two wine samples; red and white) for academic, industry, and/or community groups for participants 18 years and over.

  • For a cross-industry audience, the workshop provides a platform to demonstrate the potential for metaphor to transform and translate sensory and emotional responses. At the same time, the workshop provides an opportunity to understand how genre and metaphor works in highly specialised yet publicly accessible texts–wine reviews, tasting notes, and marketing communication–to help you reappraise communication strategies.
  • For an academic audience, the workshop offers an interactive way to introduce students, researchers, and practitioners to the process of wine appreciation while facilitating a theoretical understanding of metaphor and the development of basic methodological skills in performing metaphor identification using the Metaphor Identification Procedure Vrije Universiteit (MIPVU).

Metaphor: Corkscrew of Wine Communication

Winespeak and Metaphor

Wine is embedded in cultures and aesthetics (e.g., food, fashion) and wine language is full of fuzzy concepts (e.g., the nose and bouquet; flavour and mouthfeel; finish and after taste). Somewhat disparagingly referred to as winespeak, wine communication is rich in figurative language. To this end, metaphor is a frequent feature of wine reviews and tasting notes used at the cellar door, on winery websites, or promotional materials. Metaphor is pervasive in our language, thoughts, and gestures. Metaphorical language involves two different knowledge domains: a target domain (e.g., wine) and a source domain (e.g., a person). That is, people come to understand one thing in terms of another (e.g., this wine is round—the mouthfeel given as shape; a palate full of nervous energy—an appraisal in terms of personality).

Personification of Wine

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Wine consumers experience more of the intrinsic characteristics of a wine after they receive product information. Therefore, effective communication is important because it underpins growth in wine knowledge that, in turn, contributes to growth in wine consumption. Wine is frequently appreciated in terms of human-like qualities. Such personification can be an effective communication strategy in the cellar door and as a tool for wine education. Personification is where a product or brand is talked about to engage consumers via their experiences of it in terms of its similarity to and relatedness to people. “Marketers can use a variety of visual, verbal and metaphorical tools to activate knowledge of a ‘human’ schema and, thereby, enhance consumers’ tendencies to perceive brands in anthropomorphic ways” (MacInnis & Folkes, 2017, p. 37).

For instance, a wine has a voice: announce, sing, whisper, or suggest; wine has psychological features: confident, honest, mellow, or brooding; wine has physical attributes: heart, nerve, and backbone; and, wine has aesthetic properties: gorgeous, luscious, and youthful.

The personification of wine helps people understand the wine experience through figurative language frames. A figurative frame captures information to make an unknown, abstract and/or complex issue more concrete and comprehensible. Such framing utilises metaphorical language to personify and story the wine experience. Therefore, what is and what is not an effective frame is an important area of research to uncover the proactive capability of figurative frames in wine communication directed at different groups of wine tourist.

The Persuasive Power of Metaphor

Metaphor can be an educational “corkscrew” to open up wine to consumers. Consumer behaviour studies of metaphoric language in advertising and promotion indicate that metaphoric expressions are more persuasive than literal speech (Tom & Eves, 1999).  When seen as a resource, metaphor analysis has the power to uncork the potential of wine language and enhance wine education.

Reference: Creed, A., & McIlveen, P. (2018). Uncorking the potential of wine language for young wine tourists. In M. Sigala & R. Robinson (Eds.). The market of wine tourism: Profiling, segmentation, and behaviour. London, England: Palgrave McMillan.

Dali wine photo

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