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musicItalian scientists have discovered music helps grow healthier plants. The classical music of Mozart, Haydn, Vivaldi and Mahler relayed from an iPod to vines through 15 speakers was found to have a positive effect on shoot growth. Sangiovese grapes growing near the speakers had a greater number of leaves per vine than those growing in a silent area of the Tuscan vineyard Il Paradiso di Frassina.

Vineyard owner Carlo Cignozzi, a music lover who once serenaded grape pickers on his accordion, first noticed his vines seemed to mature faster under the influence of music in 2001. grapesScientists from the University of Florence turned this observation into a scientific experiment in 2006 by setting up speakers in front of young plants in wooden tubs and older plants in an isolated area of the estate. Shoots and tendrils were tested once a week for levels of chlorophyll, nitrate and photosynthetic and transpiration rates. Head researcher Stefano Mancuso said "The results aren't conclusive yet, but the silent control pot-grown vines showed delayed development."

If you want to get a taste of the theory then visit the London restaurant Locanda Ottoemezzo. Il Paradiso di Frassina Gea di Montalcino 2003 is available at £9.00 per glass.


WineboxPut away your corkscrew, wine is available on tap. Look around the wine section of your average supermarket and you’ll see 800 different bottles and 30 wineboxes. Clearly more people buy wine in bottles but they are missing out on the great advantage of buying wine in 3-litre boxes - no corkscrew is required. To pour a glass of wine all you need do is push open a plastic tap.

Pimm's logoJames Pimm, owner of an oyster bar in Victorian London, designed his Original drink to wash down the oysters. This house blend, known as a ‘cup’, included ingredients common to many bars or pubs - gin, soda, lemon, sugar, quinine and spices.

saladMatching wine to a lettuce and herb salad, whose only coating is a grind of salt and pepper, is easy - almost any white or light red wine will go. Finding a wine for a salad dressed in oil or vinegar is a little more difficult.