Music Influences the Enjoyment of Wine

Patio at Gloria Ferrer Winery
Outdoor Patio at Gloria Ferrer Winery

Sipping a glass of Pinot Noir, listening to soothing jazz, is a relaxing way to spend the afternoon as a wine lover. Some winemakers are taking it a step further, and utilize music to enhance the flavor as wines mature. Vineyards have started installing speakers, to encourage growth, and play music while the wine ferments.

Patio at Gloria Ferrer Winery
Outdoor Patio at Gloria Ferrer Winery

Music and Winemaking

Frequency Winery believes that sound causes micro vibrations that perfectly settle the sediments while wine ages, so they built an adjacent recording studio, to ensure constant music flowing into their barrels and bottles. Montes Wines prefers a more subtle approach, piping in Gregorian chants 24/7 during maturation, citing an improvement in the exchange of oxygen as a result.

While winemakers disagree regarding the affect of sound, scholarly research indicates that music is a factor. Papers from the British Psychological Society, such as “The Effect of Background Music on the Taste of Wine” and the followup “Having a Drink With Tchaikovsky: The Crossmodal Influence of Background Music on the Taste of Beverages” agree that the tasting experience does improve.

Music and Wine Tasting

Justin Brown Music
Justin Brown is a winery musician in the Napa Valley.

Have you ever walked into a winery, and felt instantly at ease? Many tasting rooms have live music on weekends, from melodious Classical guitar to foot-tapping trios. Music and wine festivals are exciting events around the world, like the BottleRock festival in Napa.

Justin Brown is a singer-songwriter who recently released the album “The Bigger Picture”. He specializes in playing at wineries, and agrees that layering in beautiful sound will alleviate awkward silences that can happen in tasting rooms and patios.

“Background music alleviates the tension and makes the experience more enjoyable…most people stop by to treat themselves and relax.” Just like a party, having the right tone of music can make or break the mood. “I try to play very melodic music, so you can just drift off in the background and truly enjoy the wine” he explains.

Riedel Wine Glasses & Decanters
Riedel wine glassware is a popular choice in wineries. Depicted: Riedel Amadeo Yellow & Black Decanter.

Whether you are settling down with a decanter from the comfort of home, or visiting your favorite local winery, “if music be the food of love, play on”.