The Mozart Effect in the Vineyard
Yesterday I had the pleasure of taking some time off my work day to explore the fascinating world of Italian wines through a trade event that was passing through Chicago. It's one of the perks of being self employed and in the wine business.
The event focused on wines produced in Tuscany, specifically the area around Montalcino which is produces Rosso and Brunello wines from the Sangiovese red grape that is so popular in the Tuscan area.
If you are familiar with Tuscany, just draw a short line south of Siena and you will arrive in this geographical area which features warm weather and elevation with southern slopes. In other words, perfect conditions for fine wine making.
I tried many wonderful wines but one vineyard and winemaker struck me as quite eccentric. And I love eccentric because, if you know me, I'm eccentric and opinionated as well. So you want to know why this one vineyard stuck out in my mind?
This vineyard, Il Paradiso di Frassina, plays Mozart to the vines as they grow! With Bose speakers strategically placed around their vineyards, the owner truly believes that the music of this 18th century genius will make for a better harvest and quality of fruit. Who am I to say crazy?
About 20 years ago, when my kids were just born and infants in the cradle, a book came out about the Mozart Effect which stated that if you played recordings of Mozart, your kids would absorb the beauty and artistic achievement through the intentional exposure of this great music. It would aid in their development while you made your expected mortal parental mistakes in their upbringing.
I did it not play the music of Mozart because of the Effect. I did it because I am also a professional Classical musician and it's pretty much the only music I listen to when I am at home. My kids are doing great but I don't know if it is necessarily due to the Mozart Effect. I like to think it's because I'm such a great Dad!
But to hear about this phenomenon being applied to vines and winemaking was quite stunning. So I tried the wines. And I must say, I loved them.
They sparkled and were wonderful expressions of the Sangiovese grape unlike any others on the exhibition floor. The wines were made in a light Burgundian style with fruit and acidity without heavy oak or heavy alcoholic content. Simply beautiful and stunning on the palate. The three I tried could pair with a wide variety of food and were EU certified organic.
So who's to say that the Mozart Effect is wacky? I won't go there because I actually believe it. It worked on my kids, it worked on this wine, and heck, maybe it works on me.
My day is always better when it includes a musical selection by The Wolfgang.
I may just start playing some Mozart in my warehouse cellar to help in bottle aging my inventory!