“Each year there will be different music selections and these become part of the fabric and memories of each vintage. I can almost tell you what vintage it was by the music we listened to that year”
“Mark is not a muso, but he definitely likes to turn up the stereo to bands like the Red Hot Chili Peppers when he’s working in the winery”
Music and wine, arguably two of life’s greatest pleasures, go hand in hand. Together they have a rhythmical relationship that’s compatible, balanced and oh so delicious. There’s something pretty spectacular about listening to your favourite song with a glass (or bottle!) of wine in your hand too. Complete with a good group of friends, your partner and heck, even on your own. Not only does it fuel the mood for the better, but it just works – and certainly makes for a great experience.
So it should come as no surprise why I had to profile Woodgate Wines in an exclusive question and answer piece for the music blog. Not only do they feature music related labels on the wine, but there’s a lot of history in their background that ties wine and music together; including vocalists, guitarists, pianists, a trumpeter, a saxophonist, two drummers and a double bass player.
The winemaker is like a musical artist and when a cork pops from a bottle – well, you know the show is about to begin. So crank your favourite band, grab a glass of vino and get introduced to Woodgate Wines.
Why Music and Wine?
People have been experimenting with the combination of music and wine for centuries. For me, the two resonates closely with the fact both music and wine almost always triggers a happy memory, which certainly impacts on the experience as a whole. A certain song can take you back to a memory years ago, or a particular bottle of wine can remind you of a moment that was enjoyed with friends.
The qualities and mood of a song can heighten the exact same qualities represented in wine. Songs with heavy bass lines in them tend to feel powerful – the same way a glass of rich red Cabernet can. Jazz and soul music can complement a bottle of bubbles perfectly too, with its feeling of sexiness and sophistication.
Who are Woodgate Wines?
Established in 2006, Woodgate Wines is the family owned and operated business of Mark and Tracey Aitken.
With an ever changing portfolio of wines on offer to quench almost every thirst, Woodgate Wines are the perfect match for a dose of good music.
“There are classic favourite wine styles which we will always make. Beyond this we are keen to explore a variety of styles that are less common but add to the richness and colour of enjoying wine“.
Q+A with Mark and Tracey Aitken
1. Where did the idea originate from to mix Woodgate’s wine with music?
(Tracey) The Bojangles wine is an obvious connection, so this was the first way we decided to connect it all to our heritage of music which stretches back to four generations. My mum is an accomplish pianist, my pop was a double bass player, my dad was a saxophone player, my brother and my son play the drums and my daughter is an up and coming piano player. My mum and dad had a wedding band in the 70s and 80s too.
2. Were you and Mark the first ones in the family to tie the music and wine theme together?
(Tracey) Yep! The wine and music connection was made when the wine production came on board in 2006, or thereabouts.
3. The ‘Bojangles’ sparkling wine has an obvious music theme to both the name and the label showcasing this musical heritage. What’s the story behind this tasty number?
(Tracey) We just liked the name! We both come from many different perspectives of musical interest so it made sense.
4. The connection between music and wine is definitely there. Both have a rich culture and an in-depth history, and both are made up of intense complex patterns. What’s the biggest connection between the two for you both?
(Tracey) Both create an ‘experience’ in the right setting, and it’s this experience that evokes emotions and connections.
5. Are there any ‘music’ skills that can be utilised in the winemaking process? I’m guessing patience would be a good one!
(Tracey) Mark is not a musician, but he has total control of the winemaking process from woe to go. Maybe his developed palate and ability to judge the quality of the wine can be linked to hearing certain tones, intonations and timing that a good musician would pick up on when judging music.
6. What are your thoughts on winemakers that play music to the fermenting grape juice or during maturation? Have you done anything similar and do you think it influences the process at all?
(Tracey) Mark certainly likes to turn up the stereo to bands like Red Hot Chili Peppers when working in the winery…anything with a good beat!
(Mark) Music playing during winemaking is a really important component of the workplace especially during vintage, this goes way back in history. We once visited a winery in Bordeaux called Chateau Cos D’Estournel, they had a museum there with scenes and artwork depicting vintage in the 1800’s with live musicians playing while the workers processed the fruit. The reason was to maintain the morale of the winery crew during the long working hours.
In modern times I don’t think I have ever walked into a winery during vintage without hearing music playing. Vintage is hectic, physically demanding, with long hours and fatigue common, whilst at all times maintaining a clear head and good decision making capacity is required. The solution to this problem is music. Especially upbeat stuff – it keeps you alert, upbeat and focused and is almost an energising force.
Each year there will be different music selections and these become part of the fabric and memories of each vintage. I can almost tell you what vintage it was by the music we listened to that year. In some wineries I know about, the staff develop a play list of songs that have particular relevance or meaning to events in the winery or in the lives of the staff for that year which means the music takes on added significance.
7. There’s a lot of studies that reveal how much music can change the way your wine tastes. Many shops tap into this concept by using music to influence which wine shoppers buy too. Evidently there’s a direct correlation between music in your ears and the wine in your glass, do you think combining the two has impacted your wine/business at all?
(Tracey) Having nice music playing in the cellar door provides another layer of a great experience – just as the right music in a restaurant or café situation adds to someone’s enjoyment of their food and wine experience. I used to play my guitar and sing at a couple of restaurants and can definitely see people’s enjoyment of the laid back music on a sunny Sunday avo with a nice glass of wine.
8. Do you still play guitar and sing now?
(Tracey) Only for my own pleasure, family, friends or at family gigs. I sang at my son’s wedding for his wedding dance and then jammed with family and friends after.
9. What is your favourite wine and music combo?
(Tracey) My favourite music is Jazz and this is a perfect compliment for wine, I usually play it as the cellar door too. My favourite wine from our range is the 2014 Viogner as it has a lovely oaky, complex and savoury finish with depth of character. My favourite artist at the moment is Melody Gardot and my favourite band right now is Devil Dolls.
Love wine and music? Make sure you check out Woodgate Wines at this year’s City Wine in early June or UnWined later in October. And for all you extreme wine addicts, I’d definitely recommend heading over to my good friend Travelling Corkscrew for a little taste of everything.