Liquid Love Letter: Listen

<p>Courtesy of Unsplash | Photo by Dave Lastovskiy</p><p>Sound gives our brain so much information. Even unknowingly. We take in so much innocuous sound that it’s easy to drown out most non-threatening things we hear on a daily basis. </p><p>What happens when we stop and really listen? Do things sound different? Do they look different? Do they taste different?</p><p>I challenge you to listen to the sound of cutting the foil from the top of a bottle. Listen to the sound the bottle makes when it clinks against a ring you’re wearing. Is there a more happy sound than popping the cork from a bottle of Champagne or sparkling wine? Don’t you love the resonance of two empty glasses careening off each other on their journey to becoming full of wine? This is the wine equivalent of stopping to smell the roses.</p><p>One of the most pleasurable sounds for me is when I’ve poured a glass of Champagne or sparkling wine, and for minutes after the bubbles dissipate up to the top of the wine with a frothy and effervescent tone. It’s the sound of happiness. It’s the sound that fuels the refreshing “ahhhhhhh” we make after taking a glorious first pleasurable sip. </p><p>We have to listen. It’s one thing to hear, but quite another to listen. Be active in how you consume the sound. Allow yourself to be aware of the way it makes you feel, and the impulses that come from those feelings. If you find yourself thirsty and salivating, then you’re definitely a friend of mine. </p><p>So what is the wine telling you? </p><p>Does it speak of a place? </p><p>Or an emotion? </p><p>That is for you to enjoy while attempting to answer these philosophical questions. </p><p>Do people speak differently after drinking wine? Notice their tone and cadence. How does music sound after a glass or two of wine? Don’t just hear it, but listen for it.</p>
<p>Courtesy of Unsplash | Photo by Roberto Nickson</p><p>At this point in our column, Matthew and I have paced through each of the other senses of sight, smell, taste and touch when exploring wine. This week, we’re hovering over the “missing sense” of hearing or, more accurately, listening. </p><p>Leaving out the sense of hearing is a significant gap, and I get it. It doesn’t seem as though the sense of hearing could be part of the mix when experiencing or talking about wine. You see wine, sure, and taste, smell and touch it. </p><p>But what does wine sound like? How do you hear wine?</p><p>(For a moment, think about how we hear… anything. As my friend Renate points out, listening is the “hardest” sense because we have to intentionally tone down — or quiet — the other, more dominant senses like sight or touch in order to hear properly. An easy illustration: putting down our phones during a conversation with a friend or child or colleague. Notice how much more attentive we are, and how much better listeners, without indulging the visuals or the touch of our phones.)</p><p>This week, let’s see how our experience of wine changes when we prioritize listening to it. </p><p>How does wine sound?</p><p>Matthew suggests listening to the sound of cutting the foil from the top of a bottle, or the sound of clinking glasses, or the pop of a sparkling wine cork or its effervescence. I’d also suggest the “surround sounds” of wine, that is, the words and language we hear within the environment where we drink wine or choose it: inside a wine shop or restaurant, for example, or at a party or over a quiet glass with a friend or even in solitude.</p><p>You’ll hear information about wine, communicated by sommeliers or retailers or on podcasts and videos on lots of platforms. You’ll also hear assessments of wine — like, dislike, meh — and judgments and descriptions of it too.</p><p>These are all the ways that wine sounds.</p><p>This week, experiment with becoming a listener to wine. Notice too how the sounds of wine change a few minutes or a glass or two into the experience. What do you keep talking about? What do you stop talking about? What do you hear from wine now that wasn’t there at the beginning?</p><p>It can be easy to let your attention to listening slip, in favor of the “easier” senses like sight and taste. But hang in there, and keep coming back to hearing. You’ll be rewarded for it.</p>