We’re sure that there are a few classical music fans among the readers of the xtraWine blog. Perhaps your greatest joy is to sit down with a glass of Italian wine and listen to the music of the masters. A little Mozart here and a little Beethoven there.
We’re sure that sounds like heaven to more than a few of you out there.
Now here’s something that you might not have expected.
It seems like the grapes that were grown to create the glass of wine in your hand enjoy classical music.
Sounds a little strange, right? But according to a few different studies to emerge from Italy, grape vines do grow better when they’re exposed to classical music.
In this article, we’re going to dig a little bit deeper into the research.
What the Studies Say
While there aren’t any studies that specifically look at the effects of classical music on plants, there are plenty that lookat the effect of music.
In fact, these studies extend all of the wayback to the 1960s. In was in 1962 that Dr. T.C. Singh looked into the subject. At the time, he served in India’s Annamalai University as the head of its Botany Department. And he was curious to see if music could have the same uplifting effects on plants as it does on people.
He began experimenting with different musical sounds on a group of balsam plants. And the results he found were remarkable.
The plants enjoyed a 72% increase in biomass and grew 20% faster when exposed to music.
Can you guess which genre he chose?
That’s right. Dr. Singh’s first experiments examined the effects that classical music had on plants. And as the results show, there’s a clear and positive effect.
Singh began experimenting with other types of music, including raga. He played an array of instruments at his plants to see if there was any variance depending on the type of music played. In every case, the plants that had music played to them grew faster than those that didn’t.
In the end, he concluded that the violin has the greatest effects on a plant’s growth rate.
Dr. Singh also experimented on seeds, as well as already-growing plants. And again, his playing of music to seeds led to them developing plants that had stronger roots, more leaves, and better health on a general level.
And he’s not the only scientist to experiment with the effects that sound can have on plants.
Before Dr. Singh, American botanist Luther Burbank began his own experiments. In his case, he talked to his plants for extended periods of time to see what effects his voice might have on them. He concluded that plants have somewhere in the region of 20 different sensory perceptions and are thus more than capable of hearing the sounds and music played to them.
We know there are a few rock fans wondering what effects their favourite type of music has.
Interestingly, rock music doesn’t have quite as positive effect on plants. In fact, studies conducted by Dorothy Retallack suggest that rock music could even kill plants.
She conducted one study in which she played rock and classical music to two different sets of plants. In the case of classical music, the plants grew around the speakers and almost caressed the source of the music.
But with rock music, the plants actively grew away from the source of the sound. This resulted in what Retallack called “abnormal vertical growth”.
The simple conclusion is that you probably shouldn’t play any Ozzy Osbourne to your plants any time soon.
If you want to spur on your plant’s growth, it looks like classical music is the way to go. And for one vineyard in Italy, classical music has become an important tool in their success.
The Vineyard That Uses Classical Music
If you ever find yourself wandering around the hills in Tuscany, especially in the region of Montalcino, you may hear the faint sound of Mozart on the breeze.
Follow the sound to its source and you’ll likely arrive at Il Paradiso di Frassina. This beautiful little vineyard produces Brunello wine. And they’ve also taken all of the research into the effects of music on plant very seriously.
The owner, Giancarlo Cignozzi, began his own experiments back in 2008. Back then, he started playing a little Mozart for a small selection of the plants in his vineyard.
He discovered the same things that Retallack and Singh discovered. His vines actively grew towards the source of the classical music that he played to the plants. Plus, their leaves and grapes were stronger and healthier. In fact, the vines produced much larger grapes than those that he didn’t expose to the music.
The grapes that grew closest to the music had the highest sugar content and they soon became the key grapes in the winery’s best products.
Why Does This Work?
The University of Florence’s Stefano Mancuso digs a little deeper into why this seems to work.
Apparently, it’s less to do with the specific type of music as it is to do with the specific notes and frequencies.
“It’s very difficult to say that plants like classical music – Wagner, Mozart, or whatever you [like]. What they are able actually to do is to perceive sounds and specific frequencies.”
It may just so happen that the frequencies that plants prefer occur more often in classical compositions than they do in any other genre of music.
The Final Word
There’s a simple conclusion to all of this.
A little bit of Mozart may just help producers grow stronger and better vines. Not only are the vines themselves stronger, but the grapes that grow on then contain more sugar and produce even better wines.
Perhaps you could try the experiment with some of the plants that you have at home. Who knows? You may end up with even stronger plants than ever before.
And for the classical music fans among you, it’s nice to think that the grapes used to make your wine enjoy the music as much as you.