How music can affect the taste of wine

by Scott Harvey on February 17, 2012

Recently I shared a story with Dan Berger, who writes a weekly wine commentary called “Dan Berger’s Vintage Experience”.  It is my favorite and I find it more useful than both the Wine Spectator and Robert Parker.  So you’ll find the same story in his last newsletter.

The story is about how music affects the taste or perception of a wine.  You may want to try this at home with some of your guests.  It is a lot of fun.

I’ll have everyone set down to dinner.  In front of them will be two glasses of wine.  I’ll have them judge the first wine by itself and tell them not to taste the second yet.  I’ll have my stereo remote discreetly next to me and will have jazz music playing.  Then I’ll discreetly change the music to classical and have them taste the second wine.  Then I’ll ask them to tell me which wine is better.  The wines are the same wine from the same bottle, put the tasters will swear the wines are different.  Some wines will taste better with one kind of music while others taste better with another type of music.  I find when I’m blending in my lab and I’m ready to taste the final blends, I’ll turn the music off because I find it interferes with my judgement. In some cases positively and some cases negatively depending on the music and the wine.

Give it a try and let me know what you think. What music do you think makes Scott Harvey Zinfandel taste best?

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Liz February 18, 2012 at 10:13 am

sent this on to my son, Stephen Slaybaugh, a music editor/reviewer.


Jana Harvey February 18, 2012 at 10:30 am

Thanks for doing that, Liz. I’d be interested in getting his feedback on this.


Big Man in a Big Land March 14, 2012 at 8:32 pm

that is pretty amazing. i would have never thought that this could make a difference but music does have pretty powerful effects on us. I would be curious to hear more experiments with this, maybe have a lesser wine tried during a genre people like and then a better one when there is something the whole group dislikes.


Yoni Mayeri March 29, 2012 at 11:39 am

How does hip hop, rock and indy music affect wine tasting?


Scott Harvey March 29, 2012 at 4:36 pm

I’m not sure. I know when I’m blending wines in my lab that hard rock and roll do not help the taste of the wine.
Scott Harvey


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