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18 July 2023


Sipping on Sonic Seasoning 

Some of us do Winter, differently.

Like most things in life, it takes two to make a thing go right and there are some things that, just naturally, land better as a pair… Bacon and eggs. Caramel and sea salt. The sun and the moon. Bonnie and Clyde. Love and marriage. A roaring fire and (sing it with us!) red red wine. At Woven Bark, when it comes to the art of pairing, wine is one of our most quintessential favourite luxuries to play with — be it in any season but most especially in winter.


When one thinks of wine pairing, it’s easy to mentally cut straight to the plate and of course to the palate: from sumptuous cheeses (the bluer and riper the better, and don’t get us started about our obsession with brie!) to decadent pastas, risottos, shellfish and even small dishes like hot fish tacos — with herbs like coriander and a fresh kick of lime bringing out the hidden zing in a crisp Chenin or a Greek Malagousia. Delightful! 


But while pairing wine with food is a definite proven science, what we find even more fascinating is the concept of sonic seasoning, and what happens when you consciously pair music with vino. After all, a pairing is never just a pairing, let’s be honest darlings: it’s a sublime, multi-sensorial, synaesthetic, ultimate experience and what better force than music — that seemingly strings the Universe together in inexplicably soul-stirring ways, and has been at the forefront of human expression for eons — to bring out the magic, the terroir, the art and the craft that has so loving been captured in a bottle? Our sentiments exactly. 


Research also points to this theory being true — from how music influences the taste of your wine and experience of it and how it can, believe it or not, even improve its quality! Did you know that even the soundtrack playing in your local wine store can convince you to pick up a certain bottle without you even knowing it?! This was proven in 1999 by scientists who put it down to the ‘Priming Effect’. They recorded how when certain music played, such as Spanish or Italian, the purchases of corresponding wines from those regions were much higher! This is due to a particular area of your memory being activated, which then primes and influences the decisions you make. 


When it comes to music influencing how wine tastes, the research results are equally as fascinating. Studying two groups — one drinking wine paired with different genres of music, to a control group drinking wine with no music — researchers found that the first group described their wines in similar ways to the characteristics of the music that was playing, regardless of whether they were drinking a red or white… This was completely different to the control group that tasted the exact same wines! This underlines what a huge role atmosphere, ambience and vibe play in enhancing any food or wine experience, and potentially why many of the world’s finest restaurants play classical music…


In terms of whether it’s possible that music can improve the quality of wine produced, the jury is still out — but there are some wineries, like De Morgenzon in Stellenbosch, who swear by it. Deploying outdoor speakers, they religiously pump tunes 24/7 to bring stronger, healthier vines alive! Their theory is that as the vines increase in size due to the effect of the music, they gain a larger surface area, which in turn increases the rate of photosynthesis, sugar, and therefore the concentration of flavour within the grapes. Just wow!


If your tastebuds are salivating in the same way as ours are and you’re itching to confirm the truth for yourself, then this is your sign (and official invitation) to join us this winter for a wine tasting event like no other, ’Songs by the Glass’; where we will be pairing limited edition wines with a different music type or genre. In this way, you get to do winter somewhat differently this year, and…you get to cast your vote as to whether music really does make wine sing. Let us know, will you. 


To sign up for the full Songs By The Glass experience Click Here

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