Music and Wine

Pairing music and wine is a crazy concept I am still trying to wrap my head around. Okay, pairing wine with food is normal, right? It is fair to assume that wine and food pairing started somewhere around 6,000 BC. The history of pairing wine and music is not that old, actually, I only stumbled upon it listening to a podcast a month ago. A quick internet search shows articles going back to 2007.


There have been many studies on how music affects your mood and emotional being, can this translate to better enjoying a glass of wine? Maybe or maybe not. When we drink a glass of wine we use 4 senses when enjoyed with food. Sight, smell, taste, and touch. It makes total sense that sound can have an effect on the experience. The issue is whether the music enhances the wine itself or the total experience. For example, when sipping a super Tuscan on a patio overlooking the houses and hills of San Gimignano, wine tastes sublime. As we all know, it doesn’t taste the same on your back deck at home.  

I heard of this study from a Masters of Wine candidate Susan Lin. She did her dissertation on the effects of classical music with champagne. The most interesting fact I took from that experiment is that the Sommeliers involved were not happy about blind tasting with music in the background. They believed it would affect their concentration. They did the tasting and clearly the research showed that they scored the wine better with music in the background (Guildsomm: Music and Food Pairing). You can listen to the podcast for the details. Okay, now your thinking you can buy cheap wine put on classical music and you’re set for a party. I am not so sure that would work. Most so called “experts” call for Champagne and Bordeaux with classical music, Zinfandel and California Cabernet for Rock, and Pinot Noir with Jazz. For me, a glass of California Cabernet with Black Sabbath’s “Paranoid” is the perfect afternoon.

Give it a shot and see what happens!

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