These Wine Grapes Listened to Mozart, to Their Benefit

[Science ★★★]










(P1) 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.

(P2) 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!”

WORDS: 232


VOCABULARY: vineyard, robustness, frequencies, breeding, pesticides, fertilizer, akin, cellars


If you found the passage difficult to read or had problems understanding specific words or idiomatic expressions, please discuss them with your tutor. The following discussion questions should be answered in your own words and with your own arguments.

  1. Briefly, summarize the content of the article in your own words.
  2. Are you a wine enthusiast? Why or why not?
  3. What type of music do you like to listen to? Why?
  4. In your opinion, do you think listening to music helps reduce stress? Why or why not?


  1. Where is the vineyard located?
  2. Who gave speakers for free to the researchers?
  3. What was the most impressive outcome of the experiment with music?
  4. The winemaker now uses fewer pesticides and fertilizers to grow the grapes. (T or F)
  5. According to the research, only classical music works to keep insect attacks down. (T or F)


What do the following expressions or phrases mean?

  • a hint of G minor (P1)
  • he set about (P1)
  • insect attacks (P2)
  • the grapes grow towards (P2)

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Image source: by AP Photo/Bob Edme, File

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