Are these the world’s luckiest vines, or is this the world’s craziest idea?
The experiment is the brainchild of Giancarlo Cignozzi, a tall, thin man with short greying hair, elegant yet always in motion. He has a wild, restless energy about him, and although he’s probably told the story about how he came to play Mozart to his Sangiovese vines hundreds of times, there’s nothing canned about it.
It’s a singular romantic vision for producing better wine, yet for Cignozzi this is not only an aesthetic journey, but also an analytical one. The universities of Pisa and Florence have been conducting studies on his vines to assess how the vibrations from the music affect both the plants and the other organisms around them.
Professor Stefano Mancuso, a plant neurobiologist from the University of Florence, has studied the Mozart vineyard and seen an impact.
“It is not that the grapes are capable of understanding the music and appreciating Mozart,” says Professor Mancuso. “But they are capable of appreciating the sound vibrations and the frequencies.” The vines are affected by low frequencies between 100 and 400 Hz, he says. “The results are somewhat impressive with regard to the quality of the grapes. The most fundamental result is that the number of pathogenic attacks from insects have declined in a significant way.”
“The music is like a bomb to the little pests!” exclaims Cignozzi. “And they pretty quickly decide to inhabit the neighbors’ vineyards.”
Amar Bose, the late chairman of audio equipment manufacturer Bose Corporation, saw a segment about the winery on television and donated eighty loudspeakers, taking Cignozzi’s experiment to a grand scale.
Cignozzi isn’t the only winemaker serenading his vines. At DeMorgenzon in Stellenbosch, South Africa, co-owner Hylton Appelbaum plays Baroque music in his vineyard twenty-four hours a day.
Appelbaum is an authority on classical music and has studied its positive effects on natural life forms, including ...
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