Are Master Sommeliers Less Susceptible to Alzheimer’s?

September 16, 2016 5:00 am
Closeup of unrecognizable adult man slightly swirling a glass of rose wine under his nose and trying to catch bouquet. She's in a wine cellar, there are blurry metal tanks in background. Backlit
(Getty Images)

There are many perks to being a Master Sommelier. For one, you spend a lot of time with wine. For another, the average salary is $150,000. And finally, it turns out to be a surprisingly healthy profession. A study in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience used MRI data to assess “differences in Master Sommeliers’ brains, compared with controls, in structure and also in functional response to olfactory and visual judgment tasks.” Here’s the key takeaway:

“Our results indicate that sommeliers’ brains show specialization in the expected regions of the olfactory and memory networks, and also in regions important in integration of internal sensory stimuli and external cues. Overall, these differences suggest that specialized expertise and training might result in enhancements in the brain well into adulthood. This is particularly important given the regions involved, which are the first to be impacted by many neurodegenerative diseases.”

In short, this means by developing the skills for their job in such a concentrated, focused way, a sommelier’s memory continues to improve in adulthood, potentially making them more resistant to neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer’s. Additional study is needed to confirm the findings, but it’s yet another reason why wine is wonderful. To read more about the study, click here.


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