Music and Its Effect on Wine Tasters

In last week’s blog we talked about the effects of lighting and color on how consumers perceive the wines they taste. This week we are talking about the atmosphere and perceptions that music creates.

There have been quite a few studies linking the way consumers perceive the wine they are drinking to the music that is being played at the time. A study published in the British Journal of Psychology showed that wine could take on the attributes of the style of music that tasters are listening to. For example the voice of singer Tom Jones was associated with adjectives like earthy and full-bodied when listened to while drinking a glass of Merlot. Another study presented in the same publication detailed the findings when 200 participants were given one of two glasses of red or white wine.

Each of the four groups listened to one of four songs with different musical classifications, while a fifth group heard no music while they drank. Tasters were then asked to rate the taste of the wine using descriptions researchers had used to classify the songs. The majority of the tasters unknowingly chose the description assigned to the song they heard.

Professor Adrian North, a music psychologist who conducted the study, said that he thinks the results could “lead retailers to put music recommendations on wine bottles.”

What you play in the tasting room could also make a substantial difference to the way consumers perceive your wine and how much they are willing to purchase. The right kind of music could change a one-bottle sale into a three or four bottle sale.

Another study of wine purchasing found that consumers bought more wine in restaurants when classical music was being played.

What music are you using in your tasting room and are you checking to see how it affects your customers? The first step is to know who your customers are and what type of music they would, mostly likely, appreciate. Try different styles music at different times and make note of customers’ comments about the wine. Also keep track of sales while different music is being played.

A tip of the glass from me to you!


One comment on “Music and Its Effect on Wine Tasters

  1. Hi Elizabeth:
    I replicated this experiment in my DTC wine marketing class in Walla Walla last year. The interesting result was that for the Enology students, who were being trained on accurately evaluating wines, they did not perceive any differences regardless of the music being played. They said they had a hard time turning off what they knew about wine quality etc.
    For the marketing students in my class, the music & wine pairing had profound impact. The most telling example was tasting an off-dry Riesling first to light and bouncy classical music and then tasting the same wine to Santana. In the first case, the wine was vibrant and dancing in the mouth, with Santana, the wine was thick and tasted sweeter than the residual sugar should have suggested.
    Great column. See you this way again soon, Michele Rennie

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s