These Wine Grapes Listened to Mozart, to Their Benefit

Inside an interesting experiment in Italy
By Elizabeth Armstrong Moore,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 15, 2016 11:53 AM CDT
The Grapes in This Wine Were Serenaded With Mozart
In this Sept. 4, 2012 file photo, a worker collects white grapes. Italian winemaker Giancarlo Cignozzi likes to think that Mozart is behind the success of his harvests.   (AP Photo/Bob Edme, File)

A taste of black cherry, leather, and just a hint of G minor? In the hills of Montalcino in Tuscany, winemaker Giancarlo Cignozzi has, for more than a decade, been playing Mozart 24 hours a day to a section of Sangiovese grapes growing in his vineyard, reports CBS News. At first, plant scientist Stefano Mancuso thought Cignozzi was just another "crazy guy," but the higher sugar content and robustness of the grapes growing closest to the music intrigued him, and he set about conducting scientific experiments. Bose heard of the studies and in 2008 donated speakers and funding for more research.

Mancuso says that the most "impressive" findings are that "sound is able to reduce dramatically the number of insect attacks," possibly because the frequencies confuse bugs enough to prevent breeding. This means the vineyard no longer uses pesticides and even gets away with minimal fertilizer. Another intriguing theory: that because the frequencies are akin to those of running water, the grapes grow toward the music's source. And while Cignozzi likes to play Mozart—another award-winning vineyard in South Africa is also set on playing classical music to its grapes, even in its cellars, reports the Australian Financial Review—Mancuso says it is the frequencies, not the composer, that matter, and that even heavy metal would produce the effects. Cignozzi isn't about to change his mind, though: "Sorry, but I’m very romantic!" (Apparently Mozart doesn't make us smarter.)

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