Want to boost the body of your Pinot Noir, then turn up the bass!
The latest paper from my current doctoral research exploring the sensory and aesthetic interactions between wine and sound has been published in Multisensory Research. The product of a great project that involved Professor Charles Spence and Dr Janice Wang at Oxford University’s Crossmodal Research Laboratory, with input from my co-supervisor at the University of Adelaide, Associate Professor Sue Bastian.
Taste the Bass: Low Frequencies Increase the Perception of Body and Aromatic Intensity in Red Wine
Associations between heaviness and bass/low-pitched sounds reverberate throughout music, philosophy, literature, and language. Given that recent research into the field of cross-modal correspondences has revealed a number of robust relationships between sound and flavour, this exploratory study was designed to investigate the effects of lower frequency sound (10 Hz to 200 Hz) on the perception of the mouthfeel character of palate weight/body. This is supported by an overview of relevant cross-modal studies and cultural production. Wines were the tastants — a New Zealand Pinot Noir and a Spanish Garnacha — which were tasted in silence and with a 100 Hz (bass) and a higher 1000 Hz sine wave tone. Aromatic intensity was included as an additional character given suggestions that pitch may influence the perception of aromas, which might presumably affect the perception of wine body. Intensity of acidity and liking were also evaluated. The results revealed that the Pinot Noir wine was rated as significantly fuller-bodied when tasted with a bass frequency than in silence or with a higher frequency sound. The low frequency stimulus also resulted in the Garnacha wine being rated as significantly more aromatically intense than when tasted in the presence of the higher frequency auditory stimulus. Acidity was rated considerably higher with the higher frequency in both wines by those with high wine familiarity and the Pinot Noir significantly better liked than the Garnacha. Possible reasons as to why the tones used in this study affected perception of the two wines differently are discussed. Practical application of the findings are also proposed.
I am recruiting participants for studies in Sydney and Adelaide during 2019 investigating how sound might affect the perception of aroma or wine flavour characters (details below). If you are interested in taking part in these future studies (either audio-olfactory or wine and sound), you can register your interest by contacting me using the form below. Please specify your city and the study/ies in which you might be able to participate.
Sydney studies We are recruiting participants for a studies investigating how sound might affect the perception of flavour characters in audio-gustatory artworks or aroma characters in audio-olfactory artworks. If you participate, you will listen to a number of sounds/music works and either taste a small amount of red and white wine or smell some aromas, about which you will be asked a series of questionnaire-based questions. The experiment will take a total of one hour. The studies are being conducted as part of PhD research at UNSW and has been approved by university Human Research Ethics Committee (Refs: HC180394 and H180473).
To take part, you must be aged over 18 (and provide ID to prove this), be comfortable with consuming a small (125ml) amount of wine in the wine study (spittoons will be provided) or smell no more that 15 aromas. We require you to be in good health and have a normal sense of smell, taste and audition. The wine study is not suitable for those who have allergies to wine/alcohol; are on any medications that could interact with alcohol; are pregnant or have past or current issues with alcohol dependency.
Adelaide study: The effect of sound on the perception of wine characters HREC Approval: H-2018-270
Investigators: Assistant Professor Susan Bastian, University of Adelaide School of Agriculture, Food and Wine (Chief Investigator), Joanna Burzynska, UNSW Art & Design (Student Investigator), Professor Douglas Kahn, UNSW Art & Design (Co-Investigator) and Dr Lukas Danner, University of Adelaide School of Agriculture, Food and Wine (Co-Investigator).
We are looking for participants to take part in a new study on how sound might effect the perception of wine characters. This study forms part of the student researcher, Jo Burzynska’s PhD. If you participate, you will be given red wines to taste and sounds/music to listen to and asked to respond to questions that relate to these experiences. The experiment takes about 30 minutes (and you will be entered into a draw to wine some wine).
Important: To take part you must be:
Over 18 years of age
Are comfortable with consuming a small amount of alcohol (approx. 125ml – spitoons provided)
Do not suffer or have suffered from any taste, olfactory or auditory dysfunction
Do not have any allergies related to red wine consumption, sulphur dioxide or yeast
Do not have any past or present alcohol dependency issues
Are not pregnant
Are not taking any medication that could interact with alcohol
Participation in any research study is voluntary. If you do not want to take part, you do not have to and your participation, non-participation or withdrawal will not impact your relationship with any of the researchers or institutions involved in this study.
Jo Burzynska and Professor Anina Rich were interviewed about the Osmic Resonance project by Bec Dean for The Constellations podcast series. This episode of the series exploring art projects that operate at the intersections of science and technology can be accessed through the link above or on iTunes.
Date: Tuesday 11th December
Venue: UNSW Paddington Campus, Sydney
We are recruiting participants for a study investigating how sound might affect the perception of flavour characters in audio-gustatory artworks. If you participate, you will listen to a number of sounds/music works and taste a small amount of red and white wine, about which you will be asked a series of questionnaire-based questions. The experiment will take a total of one hour. The study is being conducted as part of PhD research at UNSW and has been approved by university Human Research Ethics Committee (Ref: HC180394).
To take part, you must be aged over 18 (and provide ID to prove this), be comfortable with consuming a small (125ml) amount of wine (spittoons will be provided). We require you to be in good health and have a normal sense of smell, taste and audition. This study is not suitable for those who have allergies to wine/alcohol; are on any medications that could interact with alcohol; are pregnant or have past or current issues with alcohol dependency. If you fit these criteria and would like to take part, please contact Jo Burzynska using the form below.
For those participating that are interested, this will be followed by an informal wine and music/sound matching presentation at 7pm.
Please feel free to share with any friends who you think might be interested.
For the last ten days I have undergone a sensory immersion in the winemaking process, as the resident artist at Pollinaria. An organic farm and arts research programme in rural Abruzzo, Italy, Pollinaria promotes a productive fusion of art and science, human life and the environment, and includes a number of vineyards, as well as its own winery. It was here, towards the end of the 2018 grape harvest, amongst Pollinaria’s vines and fermenting wines that my oenosonic encounters unfurled.
Credit: Daniela d’Arielli / Pollinaria
My work as a wine writer has obviously meant much time devoted to tasting wine; professionally this has been predominantly within a rational framework: applying the knowledge I’ve built up through two decades of study and experience, and making aesthetic and quality judgments. This role has also seen me spend a significant amount of time in vineyards and wineries, very often accompanied by commentary from and discussion with whoever is my guide. In these professional visits, affective responses can be reduced, sensorial experience subdued and correspondences overlooked in this clamour of the conceptual. In contrast, this residency was very much focused on connection with the senses: with my own, within the wine environments experienced and with each other.
Credit: Daniela d’Arielli / Pollinaria
As my primary mode of enquiry in this residency was the sensorial, I started with a sensory mapping of both Pollinaria’s home vineyard and winery, avoiding the visual, whose dominance can so often blind us to what’s going on in other sensory domains. Much of this simply involved being present in the environments to tune into and note sensations as they arose. Just as I sought to overcome ingrained intellectual approaches within my relationship to wine, I sought to bring fresh ears to the sonic environments which were at once familiar, but quickly offered up many sounds that I’d not attended to before.
Credit: Daniela d’Arielli / Pollinaria
In the recordings that I went on to make in next part of the project, I returned to Pollinaria’s home vineyard and its historic vaulted wine cellar; the oldest parts of the latter date from the 15th Century when it was a monastery, which has been revived in recent years by Poillanria director, Gaetano Carboni. I endeavoured to capture both the audible experiences I’d noticed, as well as uncovering sounds that I’d not been able to hear through using a selection of different microphones; such as ants moving and communicating in the soil under the vines and fermentation deep in the barrels and tanks. I also tasted the wines, endeavouring to move away from mediating my experience through the mental creation of a traditional tasting note, to something that more closely reflected the raw perceptual experience. Given my background, this proved the hardest task of all!
These recordings, mappings, and sensory research will go be used in the creation a new wine-focused multisensory work in the coming year, in which sensory interactions shift perceptions on what is tasted, smelled and heard.
Pollinaria is unique residency programme, in being a working farm – growing the likes of grapes, olives and wheat organically – that offers artists the opportunity to interact with agriculture. This residency is not about an escape from city pressures to a rural idyll, but promotes a direct, creative engagement with the work of the countryside and its regeneration. With its own vineyards and now restored winery, Pollinaria seemed the perfect place for my creative research in the multisensory dimensions of wine. I was therefore extremely excited when I was invited by Gaetano Carboni to have a residency here in October 2018.
The removal of time pressures, combined with the complete understanding and support of Carboni as the vineyard and winery proprietor, was immensely valuable to this research and for the quality and diversity of recordings I was able to make. Much of my research was conducted in the Montepulciano vineyard close to the residency house, which I could walk over to in minutes at any time of the day (or night) that I chose. It was also an amazing experience working within its ancient wine cellar in the town of Loreto Aprutino, historically, aesthetically, acoustically and in terms of the taste I was given of first wines being made here.