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Experience the next level of tasting wine paired with music

The Nedbank Cape Winemakers Guild, neuroscientists and composers set out to create the ultimate passion pair-up and sensory wine tasting

10 May 2022 - 14:34
The idea was to create an end result in which music notes interact with your brain to enhance the wine tasting experience.
The idea was to create an end result in which music notes interact with your brain to enhance the wine tasting experience.
Image: 123RF/vladansrs

We’ve tried it with main courses and starters, with cheese, with chocolate and even desserts. Now it’s time to pair wine with music.

In what they’re calling the ultimate passion pair-up, the Nedbank Cape Winemakers Guild has partnered not with chefs but with neuroscientists and composers to create a marriage between a piece of music and a glass of cabernet sauvignon for their new campaign, Tasting Notes: A Story of Sound and Wine.

Five of the protégés in the Nedbank Cape Winemakers Guild Protégé Programme — a three-year internship which pairs aspiring winemakers and viticulturists with some of the top winemakers in SA — set out to find the perfect glass of wine.

The result was a beautifully balanced, full-bodied bottle of cabernet sauvignon — the most available and recognised grape variety in SA which is best grown in Stellenbosch.

COMBINING MUSIC AND SCIENCE WITH WINE

Nicolaas van Reenen, a producer and music composer, worked with composer Simon Kohler to create the perfect piece of music to accompany this glass of cabernet sauvignon.

To do this, they sourced organic sounds from Weltevreden wine farm in Stellenbosch. It took them a week to put together the piece of music as they tried to capture where the wine comes from. As Van Reenen says, the “DNA of the space is fully integrated” in the piece of music.

The result? Leaves rustling in the wind, reverberations from oak wine barrels and stainless-steel wine tanks, chimes bouncing off crystal wine glasses and delicate water droplets hitting the ground which blend effortlessly with the pair’s soothing music.

The Tasting Notes cabernet savuignon produced on the Weltevreden wine farm in Stellenbosch.
The Tasting Notes cabernet savuignon produced on the Weltevreden wine farm in Stellenbosch.
Image: Supplied

In putting together the final experience, an electroencephalogram was used on the neuroscientific side of things to measure electrical activity in the brain to determine participants’ emotional engagement and response to a glass of wine. 

Certain frequencies correlate to certain flavour profiles and the idea was to create an end result in which music notes interact with your brain to enhance the wine tasting experience.

“Together, we have reimagined a new way to connect people with wine — through music on both scientific and oenological levels, while appealing to those who appreciate the passionate artistry behind wine,” says Andrea Mullineux, a Nedbank Cape Winemakers Guild member and winemaker at Mullineux & Leeu Family Wines.

THE END RESULT

The Tasting Notes experience is best enjoyed wearing a headset. The video offers prompts to smell and taste your glass of wine throughout — a very deliberate attempt to take the taster on a journey of tasting a glass of wine, from start to finish, with the piece of music building up, reaching a crescendo and closing off with the soft sound of water droplets.

The result is also two-fold: more than enhancing the taste, as you slip into this world of music, your attention shifts to only the wine in your mouth and the music in your ears. You engage more senses and the wine seems to come alive on your tongue, flowing to the sound of the music.

To experience the passion pair up for yourself, support the local wine industry by buying any bottle of cabernet sauvignon from your local bottle store and try the guided tasting experience via YouTube. For more information on the science behind this project, visit the Nedbank Cape Winemakers Guild website.

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