Sangiovese and Schubert Make Beautiful Music Together

It’s hard to believe, but we’ve been writing this blog for more than 10 years now. That makes it one of the longest-running blogs in the world of wine.redwine&piano

Every so often, we like to go back and see what we were writing about in 2007 — when George W. Bush was President, and Barry Bonds broke Hank Aaron’s home run record.

One topic was the synergy between music and growing wine grapes. According to a story in Wired magazine, music helps grow healthier plants. Wired was reporting on the preliminary result of research by Italian scientists who had been examining vineyards exposed to classical music to see if sound made the plants grow larger and more quickly.

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

The effect of sound on plants apparently depends on frequency, intensity and exposure time. 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 was a postcard-worthy, 24-acre Tuscan winery called Paradiso di Frassina.

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,” said 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’ve always contended that wine and music go together — back then… and to this day.

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