Playing a certain type of music can enhance the way wine tastes, research by psychologists suggests.
The Heriot Watt University study found people rated the change in taste by up to 60% depending on the melody heard. The researchers said cabernet sauvignon was most affected by “powerful and heavy” music, and chardonnay by “zingy and refreshing” sounds. Professor Adrian North said the study could lead retailers to put music recommendations on their wine bottles. The research involved 250 students at the university who were offered a free glass of wine in exchange for their views.
Four types of music were played – Carmina Burana by Orff (“powerful and heavy”), Waltz of the Flowers from The Nutcracker by Tchaikovsky (“subtle and refined”), Just Can’t Get Enough by Nouvelle Vague (“zingy and refreshing”) and Slow Breakdown by Michael Brook (“mellow and soft”)
The white wine was rated 40% more zingy and refreshing when that music was played, but only 26% more mellow and soft when music in that category was heard. The red was altered 25% by mellow and fresh music, yet 60% by powerful and heavy music. The results were put down to “cognitive priming theory”, where the music sets up the brain to respond to the wine in a certain way.
“Wine manufacturers could recommend that while drinking a certain wine, you should listen to a certain sort of music,” Prof North said.
The research was carried out for Chilean winemaker Aurelio Montes, who plays monastic chants to his maturing wines.
Mr Montes said: “It was therefore a natural extension to link with Heriot Watt and to scientifically determine the impact that music has on how wine tastes.”
Previously, Professor North conducted supermarket research which suggested people were five times more likely to buy French wine than German wine if accordion music was played in the background. If an oompah band was played, the German product outsold the French by two to one.
Cabernet Sauvignon: All Along The Watchtower (Jimi Hendrix), Honky Tonk Woman (Rolling Stones), Live And Let Die (Paul McCartney and Wings), Won’t Get Fooled Again (The Who)
Chardonnay: Atomic (Blondie), Rock DJ (Robbie Williams), What’s Love Got To Do With It (Tina Turner), Spinning Around (Kylie Minogue)
Syrah: Nessun Dorma (Puccini), Orinoco Flow (Enya), Chariots Of Fire (Vangelis), Canon (Johann Pachelbel)
Merlot: Sitting On The Dock Of The Bay (Otis Redding), Easy (Lionel Ritchie), Over The Rainbow (Eva Cassidy), Heartbeats (Jose Gonzalez)