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World’s first sonic wine bar opens

The world’s first sonic wine bar, where wines are matched to specific pieces of music, has opened in Christchurch, New Zealand.


The brainchild of wine writer Jo Burzynska, Auricle in Christchurch takes a multisensory approach in the hope of enhancing visitors’ oral and aural experiences.

Researching the interaction between sound and taste, the 35-seater bar runs themed nights pairing music to specific gape varieties and wine to specific types of music.

“There are strong synergies between sound and taste, with recent scientific studies confirming that what you listen to when you taste as a glass of wine has a profound effect on the perception of what you’re tasting,” said Burzynska.

“While wine and music matching events are gaining popularity around the world, as far as we’re aware this is the first bar entirely devoted to this concept,” she added.

Based in the Auricle Sonic Arts Gallery, every month the bar’s wine list is curated to complement the current exhibition, with wines matched to the sonic works playing in the space.

This May, Charles Spence, professor of experimental psychology at Oxford University, revealed that the environment in which you experience a wine has a “profound” effect on how you will perceive it to taste.

“Lighting and music can act as digital seasoning for food and wine. A red room helps to bring out the fruity notes in the wine. In a green room meanwhile, the fruit profile of the wine disappears and the wine appears closed,” he said.

“Music shouldn’t effect taste perception but it does. Colourblind tasters experience huge changes in flavour perfection when different kinds of music are played.

“Wine is described in a similar way to music, as having different ‘notes’. Citrus flavours are seen as high notes, while wood and chocolate are low notes. We’ll start to see more producers putting music matches on their labels,” he added.

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