Mozart music to winemakers' ears
In addition to the more usual flavours of honey, citrus and oak, wine lovers may soon recognise a note of Mozart or hint of Haydn in their glass if one Austrian's quirky idea catches on.
Convinced that music is a key ingredient for a good bottle of red or white, Markus Bachmann has invented a special speaker that exposes fermenting grape juice to classical, jazz or electronic tunes.
The sound waves, he claims, positively influence the maturing process and produce a better-tasting wine, but some scientists are less convinced.
Werner Gruber, a University of Vienna physicist and member of a group known as the Science Busters, which aims to debunk false scientific claims, rejected the idea as "rubbish."
"Yeast, fungi, don't have opinions," Gruber said. "They really don't care if AC/DC, Madonna or Mozart is played to them."
Mr Bachmann is undeterred by such criticism, insisting his invention will be the next big thing in winemaking.
But the 44-year-old is highly protective of his sound-infusing gadget, refusing to have the small, baby blue UFO-shaped object filmed or photographed.
Bachmann says that the sound waves emanating from his speaker move yeast particles around and, among other things, cause them to eat up greater amounts of sugar, resulting in a wine that has a lower overall sugar content.
"There's an absolute scientific basis for it," Bachmann said.
Bachmann has teamed up with six Austrian wine growers and an initial 31,000 litres of so-called Sonor Wines, priced at about 19 to 25 euros (£16 to £21), will go on sale soon. They include a 2010 pinot blanc infused with Mozart's 41st Symphony and a 2010 zweigelt exposed to a selection of arias.