Often, when most people think of wine tasting, the image that pops into their head is a large stunning wine room filled with wines and Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons” playing in the background.

It is known in psychology that different music can influence your mood or what you are doing, so actually most professional wine tastings occur in silence with no music at all.

In the retail industry if the store wants you to shop faster, they play faster more upbeat music, but if they want you to shop slower then they play slower, more low key music. Pretty crafty! This is called Multisensory Experience.


What is a Multi-sensory Experience?

Charles Spence, Professor of Experimental Psychology from Oxford University explains the Multisensory Experience in the following video:

The premise of the Multisensory Experience is that different colours, sounds and images affect the way food and drinks taste, so for example sweetness is often associated with the colour red while bitterness is associated with black or brown. Changing the colour of the plate can influence how you taste the food.


Multi-Sensory Experience & Wine Tastings

Clark Smith of Winesmith Wines took this theory into the wine world. Different taste sensations can be emphasized by playing different music types. Smith took non-traditional tasting music like country, dance and rock to enhance flavours. You can see his wine playlist here. Smith also used music to get people to try wines they would not necessarily have tried or enjoyed. In blind tastings, people found that they actually enjoyed a wine they previously hadn’t.

Music Pairings for Wine – What is the best music to listen while wine tasting?

Decanter Wine Magazine’s Results Summary:

  • Sweet wines, such as a Late Harvest Riesling, match with music with an even rhythm, slow tempo and high pitch yet soft. Piano music is best.
  • Sour wines, like red Italians such as Barbera, correspond with music that has a syncopated rhythm, fast tempo and a high pitch. Brass instruments are good.
  • Fino Sherry and other salty wines are also good with brass instruments but prefer staccato.

The study also matched specific flavours to music.

  • Wines with fruity aromas such as Beaujolais match with a high pitch, whereas wines with smokey (Margaux), dark chocolate (Nero d’Avola) or cedar (Bordeaux) match with a low pitch.
  • High tannin wines correspond with rock guitar of chunky, gritty strings and full bodied wines match with a symphonic orchestra (I guess that’s why Vivaldi Comes to Mind).
  • Wines with a strong orange aroma such as Sauternes, correspond with music that has a bright, sharp timbre, staccato and dynamic articulation, a syncopated rhythm and a lively and fast rhythm.
  • Vanilla flavours, such as America-oaked Chardonnay match with music with a soft timbre, legato articulation, even rhythm and a slow tempo.

So are you ready to test out the theory and have a wine and music pairing party?

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