Italian Scientists Say Vines May Love Vivaldi

Tuscany
Wired for sound: vineyards at Paradiso di Frassina in Tuscany.

Just in through the grapevine: Music helps grow healthier plants.

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 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.

“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.”
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