Can music affect the way you taste wine? Even more specifically, can music influence the way wine is produced? In this episode, wine’s relationship to art, science and emotion is carefully explored. Joe Fattorini visits a Chilean winery which relies on very specific lullabies in the cellar. Gizzi Erskine meets up with a famous rock musician who views winemaking as another art form – and even Matthew Goode admits during his wine tasting in Italy that heavy Danish thrash metal would indeed affect the way wine tasted in his glass.
I have always considered wine to be an art form and I love conducting wine tastings that involve ‘cross-dressing’. No, not in that way – I love mixing one art form with another. Wine with art, jazz, literature, classical music; the list goes on. Wine, like all art forms, can be experimental, creative or technical, but ultimately it is meant to be fun and enhance the world around us.
I have to admit, wine and music is my favourite sensory combination. However, can music really influence the way we taste?
Experiments have been conducted to show how music influences wine shopping behaviour by scientists North, Hargreaves and McKendrick in 1997. Accordions were played over the speakers of one wine shopping aisle in a big supermarket which resulted in a significant increase in French wine sales that day. The next day the same experiment was carried out with German oompah bands over the same aisle, and not surprisingly, there was a surge in Riesling!
As farcical as this might seem, a range of experiments have consistently shown that when people hear music it represents more than just sound waves hitting the ear drum. Rather, when this information reaches the cortex, the braininterprets these sounds. In particular, hearing a specific piece of music activates related pieces of information.