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Château Palmer tests ‘music box’ to help Merlot grow

Château Palmer in Bordeaux has been experimenting with a ‘music box’ to test a theory that sound waves may help vines to flower.

Château Palmer is using the ‘music box’ in the second growing season of what is intended to be a three-year trial period, according to the estate’s CEO, Thomas Duroux.

He said the experiment is based on a theory and method devised by French physicist and musician Joel Sternheimer in the 1980s.

Sternheimer claimed that different musical notes, or sounds at varying wavelengths, could affect protein synthesis in plants, as reported in 1994 by New Scientist magazine.

Palmer, which adheres to biodynamic principles, has installed a sound box to emit ‘carefully calibrated vibration waves’ over Merlot vines facing the Château building, said the Margaux-based second growth in the May 2019 edition of its ‘Palmer Chronicles’ news update.

palmer music vineyard

Château Palmer’s ‘music box’. Credit: Château Palmer.

‘Using different types of sound in the vineyard can have a benefit on flowering [and] vegetative growth but can also help to control diseases, [such] as Esca or mildew,’ Duroux told Decanter.com via email.

He added that the estate’s team was also hoping for good weather during the coming flowering season, which will be a key stage in the development of the Bordeaux 2019 vintage.

Palmer has produced one of the best wines of the Bordeaux 2018 vintage, although yields were down significantly, largely due to mildew attacks, said Decanter’s Jane Anson, who rated the third growth estate’s ‘first wine’ at 99 points.

Read Jane Anson’s interview with Thomas Duroux, published in December 2018


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