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Does music influence how you taste wine?

Kaylah Vasquez

The study of sensations surrounding the wine experience has grown vastly over the years. Many wonder if the environment in which you drink wine may change your perception of the wine itself.

For example, let's say you're enjoying a warm day in California with great company and beautiful music, and you fall in love with the wine you are drinking and decide to buy a case, but a week later you try it again and have a completely different impression of the wine. Is that because your primary sensations, such as sight or hearing, lead you to favor a wine you may not have if the environment was absent?

a man playing guitar with a glass of wine

The relationship between music and wine

Music is a vivacious, intellectual, and soulful experience and many would say it is the same for wine drinking. Music can be soothing and many would also argue the same for wine. The stimulation of sensations occurs in both situations. Many studies have shown that music does in fact affect the perception of wine taste.

Studies have narrowed down specific genres to best fit varieties, some of which include classical music with Bordeaux wines, Jazz with Pinot Noirs, Country with Zinfandels, and classic rock with Australian wines.

The question is, why?

Wine is full of textures and body and tends to trigger nostalgia. When wine tasting, we peel back the layers with each sip, sniff, and view. In music, we peel back the layers of the frequencies in the instruments, voices, and combinations.

Let's imagine a Syrah. A bit on the bolder side, try pairing this wine with a song of power with notable peaks. An oaked Chardonnay should be paired with something smooth and harmonious, and so on. As I noted, music and wine evoke nostalgia or emotional intuition, so when you are looking to pair the two be sure to truly identify what it is that defines the wine: is it romantic, is it full of spirit, is it charming, calm or elegant? Once you understand the wine you can more adequately make your choice in music. You can go the opposite way, but you might not have such a vast supply of wine to choose from (though you can stock up at our wine store!).

woman with a glass of Champagne listening to music

Putting it into practice

Here is an idea: during your next gathering, ask your guests to bring their wine of choice, then conduct your own experiment to see which of the wines pairs best with each song. This is a fun way to listen to new music and taste new wine with friends, while also better understanding what music frequencies heighten your senses. For best results, use a music streaming service that does not allow you to choose the exact song to eliminate any bias.

Music and wine are both pieces of art carefully curated with expression, skill, and heart. How you choose to listen or taste is up to you. Not everyone will interpret their sensations the same, so be open, be aware, and ultimately have fun. To truly explore your senses, sign up for a wine of the month club like Gold Medal Wine Club so you can explore different music and wine combinations each month!