Physics or Cognition?


Readers of the recent SF Chronicle articles on the work I’m involved in concerning the resonance of wine and music have written me to ask whether I think the effect is in our perception or some physical effect the musical vibration has on the structure of the wine.

Top of my head, I would say that in my demonstration, I find that at least part of the effect is strictly mental, which may indeed involve physical manifestations in the brain, but not necessarily in the wine itself. You can do an experiment to confirm my finding, by tasting wine while you play different pieces of music to yourself in your head. If you find this difficult, you can use headphones. Either way, the astringency effects of harmonic resonance vs dissonance are
quite apparent.

One reader turned me on to “The Hidden Messages in Water” by Masuro Emoto, a crystallization scientist, and I found it a very interesting read. He shows among other things that water has a memory in its structure, and that waters preconditioned by different pieces of music differ in the types of crystals they produce when subsequently frozen. If half the phenomena he reports are valid, we all have a lot to learn about solution chemistry.

As has often been pointed out by my quantum physicist friends, the very notion of discrete cause and effect is really up for grabs. The double slit experiment demonstrates that physical mater interacts with the observation of it. I have often observed that my intention as a winemaker seems to play out in wines like Faux Chablis, almost as if the wine was cooperating with my creative desire.

All things are possible. And it's clear that the structure of the colloids in wine is critical to aromatic integration. Playing with wine structure is at the core of GrapeCraft. We can affect this by all sorts of physical processes, and strong sonic vibrations may well have such effects. I reckon that amplitude and frequency of the sound are more likely to make a difference than musical phrases.

I'm particularly interested in how the "different types of music" were classified by Emoto-san, and that’s not really dealt with in his first book, so I’ve ordered some others.