The power of music: How Brahms might make your wine taste better

There’s a reason why a lot of perfume is a top choice on wine drinkers’ lists of what they dislike about wine. It smothers your senses, masks scents, and affects the perception of wine. Perfume is prohibited at professional wine tastings and examinations, provided it’s not strictly forbidden. It could be a better idea.

What if we applied the same reasoning to music, regulating the sound we hear or aren’t listening to when we taste wine? A chaotic atmosphere can cause synapses to become blocked and make it more challenging to focus on the specifics of a bottle. However, can music help enhance your enjoyment of wine, completely changing your perception?

The One Master of Wine (MW) has proved possible. Just as the smell of baking bread makes a house more welcoming, the scent of classical music can elevate the enjoyment of Champagne compared to silence, regardless of whether you’re a lover of the music genre.

Susan Lin became an MW in 2021. She is now head of expertise in wine for the fine retailers of wine Belmont Wine Exchange in San Francisco. She also acquired a Master’s in Fine Art, classical piano, and musicology and prior experience working in high-tech analysis for Google to support her. She started with a single goal; to determine whether classical music can influence one’s perception of the identical sparkling NV Champagne. The official title for this research is crossmodal perceptual – how people form intuitive connections between different stimuli such as tasting and auditory.

Lin picked five music pieces that differed in timing, timbre, pitch, and articulation, with the fifth being silence. A diverse group of participants, including people who drink socially, MW students, sommeliers, and professionals from the industry, were served the identical five glasses of Veuve Clicquot The Brut NV in the Yellow Label blind and were asked to play every song at random. The participants were asked to rate each glass based on its intensity, fruitiness, freshness, enthusiasm, and complexity, as well as how much they enjoyed the music and the wine, which allowed Lin to measure the effect each musical component had on the perception of the wine.

The results were shockingly transparent.

Compared to silence, music radically improved the experience, with people finding the wine to be more vibrant, fruity, and sophisticated. In particular, when an “exciting” theme with a higher pitch and faster tempo was played, the wine was perceived as even more vibrant and fresh. If tasted without interruption, the Champagne was viewed as the least liked and effervescent. According to Lin, it was also the least fruity, the least dense, and the most complex. The wine was considered to be the least in balance among the five. The wine was less enjoyable with music and statistically significant throughout the survey.’

Of Lin’s 71 participants, 70 believed they were sampling five wines wines. The only participant who recognized that he was drinking the exact wine was convinced that his perceptions had changed as each piece progressed. Almost no connection existed between their appreciation of the music and their enjoyment of wine. A few of Lin’s guests shared a dislike of classical music. However, their perceptions were positively changed.

Lin’s theory that she’d like to investigate more thoroughly is that various musical parameters (tempo, timbre, pitch, and pitch) can be gleaned from any music genre regardless of one’s personal preferences and produce similar outcomes. I’m not a big lover of American country music; however, when listening to bits of music I had never heard, I noticed that it brought out emotions similar to classical music. I was able to identify these music-related parameters.’

In essence, one person’s Beethoven might be someone else’s Metallica. However, they will both make wines sing. From her own experience, Lin recalls drinking a Corbieres. It was a gorgeous simple wine. Then, that night, I turned on the music of an Argentine composer of contemporary Tango. It suddenly was more intense, rich, and multilayered.’

What is the significance? In addition to improving the quality of wine, There are also implications regarding wine promotion. Sound signatures may be the next step in wine marketing, as per Lin. The concept of wine having the tune of a particular song might seem absurd, but it would not be the first business to tie a musical image to the name of a brand. Consider Microsoft, Netflix, and McDonalds. All of them have instantly identifiable audio logos. Why would you not have a wine label?

“Wine tasting is a memorable experience that creates memories. Imusic can be aa crucial element in branding since branding and marketing are more than visuals, according to Lin. You could create a musical logo for your house and each expression.

Even though Lin isn’t the first person to establish a link between sensory experience and environment, she is the first to concentrate exclusively on sparkling wines. Charles Spence, professor of experimental psychology at Oxford University, is a prominent researcher in cross-modal perception. His research has revealed that music, light, and color could “digitally season” a wine by bringing out various features. The wine writer Jo Burzynska has long taken the multi-sensory approach to wine tasting, combining multiple styles of music with particular grape varieties to highlight different aspects. In 2008, Professor Adrian North at Heriot-Watt University discovered that a powerful music track made a wine perceived as 60% more affluent and influential than if the music was not played. The wines appeared more vibrant and fresh when a bouncy pop tune accompanied them.


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