Music to a Grapevine's Ears

    Music helps grow healthier plants, Wired magazine reports.

     That’s the preliminary result of research by Italian scientists who have been examining vineyards exposed to classical music to see if sound makes the plants grow larger and more quickly.

     While sound has long been thought to influence plant growth, this is the first time anyone has investigated the effects of music outdoors on Sangiovese vines, which are best known for producing grapes that go into Tuscany’s famous Chiantis.

     The effect of sound on plants apparently depends on frequency, intensity and exposure time. In 2001, Chinese researchers found that low-frequency sound does not damage cell structure but instead activates enzymes, increases cell-membrane fluidity and promotes DNA replication and cell cycling.

     The testing ground for the Italian experiment is a postcard-worthy, 24-acre Tuscan winery called Il Paradiso di Frassina.

     In 2006, the researchers set up speakers in front of young plants in wooden tubs and older plants in a small vineyard on an isolated area of the estate. Shoots and tendrils exposed to this sonic fertilizer were tested once a week from May until December, when the plants go dormant.

     They examined, among other variables, chlorophyll and nitrate content with a handheld Konica Minolta Spad-502 meter; photosynthetic and transpiration rates were checked with a Ciras-I infrared gas analyzer.

     “Sound exposure has some positive effects on vine growth in the vineyard, especially shoot growth,” says lead researcher Stefano Mancuso, a professor of agriculture at the University of Florence. “The results aren’t conclusive yet, but total leaf area per vine was always higher in sound-treated vines, both in the vineyard and in the pots. The silent control pot-grown vines also showed delayed development.”

     Hey, we’e always contended that wine and music go together!


Posted in Wine Buzz
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