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The Wine Clip


docsconz
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Maybe I'm wrong but this seems to be the first time (at least that I'm aware of) that someone's claim on eGullet has been so scrutinized. People have been encouraged to purchase All Clad cookware, Riedel and Speiglau wine glasses Lobel's meats, etc. I can't remember anyone asking Evan Lobel to conduct a double blind scientific experiment to prove that their meat is worth the $35 per pound being charged. People here on the site took them up on their $50 off special, ordered the meat and enjoyed it, some more than others. No one was accused of not correctly cooking it or tasting it. If they liked it great, if not, well they'll just buy meat from someone else next time. No one ever suggested that Evan Lobel was selling snake-oil.

I for one thinks Mr. Clip has been a great member of e-gullet. We're always looking for things to purchase things that will add to our enjoyment of food and wine, whether it be utensils, books, cheese, etc. Why the hesitation here? Buy it, try it. If you don't think it makes the wine more enjoyable to drink, give it to someone you don't like as a gift. :smile:

That felt like someone scratched the itch in the middle of my back. Thanks! :biggrin:

One thing I should add...if you can't find someone to give it to, send it back for a refund. :biggrin:

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Maybe I'm wrong but this seems to be the first time (at least that I'm aware of) that someone's claim on eGullet has been so scrutinized. People have been encouraged to purchase All Clad cookware, Riedel and Speiglau wine glasses Lobel's meats, etc. I can't remember anyone asking Evan Lobel to conduct a double blind scientific experiment to prove that their meat is worth the $35 per pound being charged. People here on the site took them up on their $50 off special, ordered the meat and enjoyed it, some more than others. No one was accused of not correctly cooking it or tasting it. If they liked it great, if not, well they'll just buy meat from someone else next time. No one ever suggested that Evan Lobel was selling snake-oil.

I for one thinks Mr. Clip has been a great member of e-gullet. We're always looking for things to purchase things that will add to our enjoyment of food and wine, whether it be utensils, books, cheese, etc. Why the hesitation here? Buy it, try it. If you don't think it makes the wine more enjoyable to drink, give it to someone you don't like as a gift. :smile:

The standard phrase is 'extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof'. I personally am rather sceptical about, for example, the taste of particular sea salts being recognisable after cooking, but intrinsically it is a reasonable claim since we know that there are chemical differences, and we know that taste is chemically based. Similarly the use of e.g. copper in saucapans is in accordance with well-known scientific principles about conductivity.

This wineclip is intrinsically unreasonable -- not impossible, but extraordinary.

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The standard phrase is 'extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof'.  I personally am rather sceptical about, for example, the taste of particular sea salts being recognisable after cooking, but intrinsically it is a reasonable claim since we know that there are chemical differences, and we know that taste is chemically based.  Similarly the use of e.g. copper in saucapans is in accordance with well-known scientific principles about conductivity.

This wineclip is intrinsically unreasonable -- not impossible, but extraordinary.

As Fat Guy has said many times, (paraphrasing) "he's just interested if things taste good." If Mark Sommelier and his crew noticed the difference in taste (for the better), that's good enough for me. I still don't understand this need for "scientific proof." I'm looking forward to the Burger Club conducting blind tasting of the DB Burger to see if anyone can notice a difference between the regular burger and the one with truffles that costs an additional $24. :smile:

"These pretzels are making me thirsty." --Kramer

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I'm trying to find the report I read over a year ago.  It was on the web.  If I remember correctly, a scientific conclusion could not be determined.

I'll continue to search for that report.

You're not even a little embarrassed to be saying this?

"A scientific conclusion could not be determined" sounds like a nice way of saying "the control group came out the same as the treatment group" which is a nice way of saying "the product doesn't work." If this isn't what you're saying here, can you be more specific? Or do you mean that a double-blind study concluded that the wine clip works but they couldn't figure out how? If so, where was it published?

Matthew Amster-Burton, aka "mamster"

Author, Hungry Monkey, coming in May

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I'm looking forward to the Burger Club conducting blind tasting of the DB Burger to see if anyone can notice a difference between the regular burger and the one with truffles that costs an additional $24. :smile:

I would be delighted to take part in that taste test. However, you're misunderstanding the nature of the claims. Daniel Boulud is saying: I made this burger; here's what I put in it; try it and you'll like it. There are no novel scientific claims being made here, just claims like "you will enjoy a burger with short ribs and truffles." I might like this burger or not, for a host of reasons (maybe I'm impressed with DB and his ingredients and therefore predisposed to like the burger, or maybe it really is better), but in the end there will be no disputing the fact that I ordered and received a hamburger and am now less hungry than when I started.

In the case of the wine clip, we're talking about a product that costs more than the DB Burger that may very well have no effect whatsoever. It's a product making grand and novel claims. It's proper to be skeptical about such a product, much more skeptical than one should be about a new burger. It would be wrong to say, "The wine clip definitely doesn't work," without a double-blind scientific trial. It would also be wrong to say that it does.

Matthew Amster-Burton, aka "mamster"

Author, Hungry Monkey, coming in May

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I read the first few posts and initial testing methodology and 'results'. I can't believe that this forum is wasting it's time and energy on this product. As I previously posted, by the very nature of the qualitative methods of testing available and the imprecise nature of our perceptions, a truly scientific and objective testing methodology is impossible to do. With the abscence of any qualitative testing available, science must prevail, and science says the 'Wine Clip' is junk.

snip

One last thought on testing methodology. When endeavering to determine the effect of a variable, one wants to eliminate the effects of all other variables and hold those variables constant. By it's very nature, once you open a bottle of wine, even if you open two, one clipped and one unclipped, you cannot hold the other variables that are causing the wine to change  constant. Add that to the subjective perceptions of the tasters and you must conclude that any scientific testing is impossible. -Dick

I don't really understand -- the situation is no different from perceptual testing in any other domain -- for example audio. Take the example of CD players. There is a well understood methodology -- most consumer testing does not follow this methodology at all and is thus worthless. If you take two identical players, and put them in different boxes, experts invariably say there is a difference. You need to control for this effect, which you can do quite easily.

As regards keeping variables constant -- how about testing drugs on humans?: there are millions of uncontrolled variables, but you take a large sample and they will average out.

I'd be interested to hear whether anyone has any plans to perform a test in a slightly more controlled way.

sammy:

we know that people often perceive differences that aren't there, particularly when they are primed to expect a difference. There is also a social pressure. ( so ... balex is the only one that can't tell the difference -- it must be a problem with his palate ....).

If you want to find out whether the perceived difference (and people DO seem to perceive a difference) is because of a change in the wine, or a change in the perceptions or expectations of the taster then you need to be a little bit scientific.

As to why we single out thewineclip .... well he came here, he has a financial interest in it, and he's making a very radical claim.

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My point was, and I admit I wasn't clear, that Daniel Boulud is saying that he is adding truffles to the burger and he is implying that we should be able to taste them yet nobody is asking for scientific proof that there are in fact truffles in the burger. All we want to know is that the burger tastes good. If FG ate the burger and said how wonderful it was and the truffle taste came shining through, that would be enough for most people on this site. Why not the same for the Wine Clip? Mark Sommelier tried it and gave positive feedback but for some reason, we can't accept it.

"These pretzels are making me thirsty." --Kramer

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I'm trying to find the report I read over a year ago.  It was on the web.  If I remember correctly, a scientific conclusion could not be determined.

I'll continue to search for that report.

You're not even a little embarrassed to be saying this?

"A scientific conclusion could not be determined" sounds like a nice way of saying "the control group came out the same as the treatment group" which is a nice way of saying "the product doesn't work." If this isn't what you're saying here, can you be more specific? Or do you mean that a double-blind study concluded that the wine clip works but they couldn't figure out how? If so, where was it published?

It was a test regarding the coaster product, not the wine clip. And no I am not embarrassed.

It was more than 12 months ago. But if my memory serves me right I believe the college students that performed the test stated that they could taste a difference but could not determine why. If I remember the name of the college, I'll find the report.

Edited by thewineclip (log)
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"This burger tastes better" is simply not a claim that has to be held to the same standard as "this product improves the taste of your wine through magnetism." However, say restaurants all over town were serving clones of the DB burger, and DB said, "My version is the original and still the best; it tastes better because I'm the only one using real black truffles." At that point we'd be demanding: is this true? Can we verify that DB's burger contains truffles and the competing burgers don't? Can we do a blind taste test and see if people really prefer the DB burger to the clones?

Many ineffective products are sold on the basis of the placebo effect. If I were selling the wine clip and believed it worked, I would want to make sure that my customers knew they were getting a working product, not a placebo. To that end, I would fund a scientific study. Take it out of the advertising budget, because it would carry more weight with many potential customers than a thousand testimonials. Fund the study and make sure it is peer-reviewed and published in a reputable journal (Food Chemistry comes to mind, or I'm sure there are enological journals that would be appropriate). If the product works, you should have no fear of a scientific test.

Matthew Amster-Burton, aka "mamster"

Author, Hungry Monkey, coming in May

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I love Lobel's meat. I've bought meat from them and believe that they sell a truly great product. From the Q&A on eGullet with Evan Lobel, he stated the following in response to a question on the Kurobota pork:

"What we're hearing from our

customers is that they are absolutely amazed that pork could be so

flavorful, tender and juicy, compared to the commonly available

commodity, or "white," pork. "

Is that much different than claims about the wine clip? Why no double blind pork tastings?

"These pretzels are making me thirsty." --Kramer

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My point was, and I admit I wasn't clear, that Daniel Boulud is saying that he is adding truffles to the burger and he is implying that we should be able to taste them yet nobody is asking for scientific proof that there are in fact truffles in the burger. All we want to know is that the burger tastes good. If FG ate the burger and said how wonderful it was and the truffle taste came shining through, that would be enough for most people on this site. Why not the same for the Wine Clip? Mark Sommelier tried it and gave positive feedback but for some reason, we can't accept it.

Because we know that truffles have a strong taste/smell. And it would be easy to verify this -- scientifically.

We know that the human sensory apparatus is capable of detecting that smell. At the moment we do not know that the human sensory apparatus can detect whatever effect the magnet has.

If someone says it is raining, I'll take his word for it. If he says aliens have invaded, I might just go and have a look out of the window before I believe him. Particularly if he is a complete stranger trying to sell me anti-alien ray guns made out of magnets.

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If someone says it is raining, I'll take his word for it. If he says aliens have invaded, I might just go and have a look out of the window before I believe him. Particularly if he is a complete stranger trying to sell me anti-alien ray guns made out of magnets

And if Mark says: "It does most of what the literature that comes with it says: it makes wine taste as if it has been breathing for 30 minutes", does your scepticism extend to that statement?

Gerhard Groenewald

www.mesamis.co.za

Wilderness

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It is difficult if not impossible to absolutely prove or disprove anything. Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle taught us that by its very nature the act of measuring changes that which is being measured. Of course, that doesn't mean that insight cannot be gained and the more rigorous the methodology, the better the insight. Much medical knowledge is based on that, but even with that, newer methods and ideas come along frequently debunking "accepted wisdom". How often do we see this in the field of nutrition alone - practically everyday, such that I no longer give much creedance to any pronouncements about what is "best" nutritionally. There are too many variables for there to be only one answer for all. Even so, that doesn't mean we shouldn't keep looking. We need to keep refining our variables so the data becomes more meaningful not necessarily to all, but to applicable sets. These variables are honed based upon studies and experimentation using scientific method. No one study is necessarily the be-all and end-all (at least not yet :smile: ), but every good study provides fodder for additional studies if the results warrant it. So far, my results with TWC haven't justified for me engaging in significantly more detailed study. Nevertheless, primarily because of Mark's results and the fact that my sample sizes have admittedly been small, I will continue to to explore it in a fashion similar to the way I have, while trying to improve my methodology within reasonable means of time and hassle (I will not use a placebo clip mainly because I don't have anything that could reasonably act as one). If further results indicate a meaningful difference in favor of TWC, I may rethink my attitude towards more detailed testing.

I did start this thread. For the most part it has been fun. I appreciate the opportunity I have had to try one of the devices for myself. my principle interest in food and wine is personal enjoyment. I am not against anything that may enhance that, however, I am not willing to automatically accept claims for anything. Based on personal experience I do give weight to others opinions, which is why I started the thread to begin with. Ultimately, however, one must make one's own opinion. If after reading this voluminous thread, any member feels that he or she may still be curious about the product, he or she should try it personally.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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I'm sure that Alex will have his own, well-informed opinions about this, but this is how I would begin to study the efficacy of the wine clip in a scientifically valid way:

Test: Does the wine clip make any difference in freshly poured wine?

- 20 subjects/30 comparisons each

- The same wine is used for the entire test, and all bottles have been verified to taste "identical" by wine experts immediately prior to use in the test. Bottles not in use are flushed with nitrogen to prevent oxidation. Bottles are clipped immediately prior to pouring. The unclipped bottles are fitted with a nonmagnetic "placebo clip" immediately prior to pouring. The pourer is passed the bottles on a tray labeled to indicare the pouring order. He/She does not know which bottle is clipped and which is not clipped.

- Each comparison pair is poured in a separate room and the glasses are placed side-by-side on a tray. In ten of the comparison pairs, the clipped wine is poured first, in ten comparison pairs the clipped wine is poured second. Ten of the comparison pairs have only the unclipped wine. Comparison pairs are poured at the same time (i.e., the pourer does not pour 20 clipped glasses and then 30 unclipped).

- Each tray is taken in to the test subjects by a third party who was not in the room when the wine was poured. The test subjects are told that they are doing a test to see if they have a rare genetic abnormality that allows them to taste trace amounts of [some strange sounding chemical] and that it is possible that all their wine comparisons may be the exact same wine with no difference (this to prevent any effects that might result from the test subjects feeling that they "should" be tasting a difference). Test subjects taste the clipped wine first in 10 pairs, and the unclipped wine first in 10 pairs.

- Test subjects indicate immediately on a form simply "different" or "same" for each comparison pair. Test subjects spit wine, and appropriate neutral palate refreshers are used.

- ANOVA of results for significance.

If a significant difference was detected and found to be statistically significant, a similar study could be done using time as a variable (i.e., how long does the wine have to sit in the glass before the "Clip Effect" wears off).

--

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Please excuse me if I am having trouble following the description of the tests. Not long ago, you said

Although we tested it in a lab with people who have PHd's it was not in the way certain eG members (not you) suggest we should have.

I took the "we" to mean individuals associate with or hired by your company. I took the "it" to mean the wine clip. I took "in a lab with people who have PHd's" to mean people who have earned Ph.D.s in a relevant field did the tests.

After some follow up questions, you wrote

It was a test regarding the coaster product, not the wine clip.  And no I am not embarrassed.

It was more than 12 months ago. But if my memory serves me right I believe the college students that performed the test stated that they could taste a difference but could not determine why.  If I remember the name of the college, I'll find the report.

Now, with all due respect, I would expect someone who claims to have tested a product using the language you used in the first quote would have a copy of the results on hand. I would also expect the test to have been done on their product, as the original language strongly implied. Finally, I would expect they would know the difference between college students and Ph.D.s. But maybe I am asking for too much here.

Chief Scientist / Amateur Cook

MadVal, Seattle, WA

Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code

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As to why we single out thewineclip .... well he came here, he has a financial interest in it, and he's making a very radical claim.

I came her after the post started. Please be acurate when making reference to my interests.

I would like to know what our "radical claim" is?

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My point was, and I admit I wasn't clear, that Daniel Boulud is saying that he is adding truffles to the burger and he is implying that we should be able to taste them yet nobody is asking for scientific proof that there are in fact truffles in the burger. All we want to know is that the burger tastes good. If FG ate the burger and said how wonderful it was and the truffle taste came shining through, that would be enough for most people on this site. Why not the same for the Wine Clip? Mark Sommelier tried it and gave positive feedback but for some reason, we can't accept it.

Sammy, I'm wondering the same thing.

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SLK, please elucidate. I do not follow the requirement that the non-clipped bottles need to be fitted with a "placebo" clip. If the pourer is not present when the wine is tasted, does it matter?

Gerhard Groenewald

www.mesamis.co.za

Wilderness

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If the product works, you should have no fear of a scientific test.

I think "fear" is a strong choice of words when referencing our resistence to explore extensive scientific testing. There was no fear on our end when we sent out clips to eG uers and there certainly is no fear when we set up tents at wine tasting events.

We've offered live taste tests to people of all races, religions and educations. The results are typically the same, positive. Are we asking them to take a test? Yes. Does that get their imagination? Yes. Does it alter their senses of smell, taste and an ability to determine a difference? I say no. To suggest that all of these people are being tricked by a placebo is a redical claim.

Our marketing states that the wine clip will enhance the taste of wine. That's our opinion and that's our findings. It's all taking place under the influence of magnetics.

Ringling Brothers claims that its show is the Greatest Show on Earth. I haven't found any reports on the Internet that supports this claim. Are their ticket sales greater than any other show ever performed? I don't take offence to their claim.

Many people like the taste when using the wine clip. A placebo would have fake magnets. The magnets we use are real.

Edited by thewineclip (log)
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