For our forty fourth episode of The Quiet Mark Podcast, we welcomed Dan Belmont, the charming New York-born, London-based Wine Ambassador of Liebherr UK. Liebherr is the German-Swiss multinational equipment manufacturer based in Bulle, Switzerland, many of whom's refrigerators, fridge freezers, and wine cabinets are Quiet Mark certified for being amongst the quietest available on the market. Dan is also a cheese expert and launched his own wine e-commerce, Good Wine Good People, in 2020.
Core to Dan’s passion for wine is the intertwining of flavour and memory;
"I believe that wine is personal, that the part of the brain that processes flavour is closely related to the part that manages memory”
Dan’s first encounter with Liebherr takes place in London’s Borough Market where he was working as an expert at a wine bar. One day, Tim Hutchinson, Liebherr UK’s Sales Director, walked in and the two struck up a conversation about wine and its necessary storage in the home. ‘Tim asked how I store my wine at home, to which my response was a “modest, sad rack in my kitchen”. He then kindly offered me a Liebherr cabinet the very next day and naturally I chose the biggest and the best from the selection! It is a three temperature zone wine cabinet with a 180 bottle capacity, which has now followed me to three different London homes.'
Quiet Mark is proud to certify Liebherr products with Dan reminding us that the noise output of their wine cabinets ‘is only 35 decibels and even in small flats I’ve not experienced noise disturbances with it.’
Last month, the Quiet Mark team sourced an article written by Pascal von Dort , Global Acoustics Ambassador at Rockfon entitled ‘Noise impacts the Taste of your Coffee’. The article analyses research from the University of Manchester and Unilever which found evidence that when drinking and eating in the presence of louder noise levels (over 75-85 decibels), the taste of food changes by means of saltiness, sweetness and even liking. We asked Dan, as a wine expert, whether he feels noise levels can affect the taste of wine.
"I believe the enjoyment of wine is personal and we know how much sound can affect emotion. The complexities of wine are hard to experience via only taste and smell.
A sweet wine may not only be sweet but sweet raspberry… so if the tone of a room is flat, your wine will taste flat. I recently tasted wine in a silent room in Austria with people I had just met. For this reason, I proposed some music, just a Classic Rock Spotify Playlist, and we found ourselves engaging more! For me, wine is best when it is shared and this music enabled a shared experience.”
Further inspired by our recent podcast guest, Gregory Scott, whose app SoundPrint scouts the quietest local restaurants in your area, we asked Dan’s opinion on whether certain restaurants seem to consider noise levels.
“I know that the smart restaurateurs are super considerate of what their audio environment is. If you walk into an empty restaurant, it feels flat and this affects the food and conversation. As I looked to develop a website for wine, I spent time researching noise in a way that affects the love of wine. Spaces should be designed in a way that people would want to return to”.
“Environment is paramount to a dining experience and I would say sound is probably the most overt sense that we have. If you sit on the Central Line and it goes around a curve your brain shuts down because you’re so overwhelmed by the noise. More people should pay attention to the sound levels of restaurants because your experience will be affected”.
At Quiet Mark, we often speak to acousticians about the sound design of buildings and they often express that consumers are often able to vividly describe the visual components of a building but tend to lack the same vocabulary and ability when describing sound. Since constructed environments deliver a sensory experience in all senses, we asked Dan how taste factors in.
"Taste is almost a muscle and therefore it has to be trained. If you taste a lot, in fact, you can get palette fatigue. The taste of the last bottle of the night can rarely be described, right?! When I write tasting notes, we are trying to be evocative of emotion and engage people over this product that they might not have yet tasted or smelled but still create a connection with their creative brain that promotes excitement. Vocabulary is tough and can often become too esoteric because you want to be personal but using universal flavours."
And finally, if you’d like to know what wines Dan recommends to go with your forthcoming Christmas lunch, tune in to the show for his expert tips and advice, available HERE.