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Science Technology

Fast Track to Fine Wine? 435

wombatmobile writes "Hiroshi Tanaka, president of Innovative Design and Technology, claims to have perfected a machine that can transform a bottle of just-fermented Beaujolais Nouveau into a fine, mellow wine in seconds. From the article: 'The road, however, won't be an easy one: the company has brought the machine around to Japanese wine producers, restaurants and even sake rice wine and "shochu" sweet potato spirit distillers, but so far only a small shochu maker in southern Japan has agreed to get involved.'
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Fast Track to Fine Wine?

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  • by TripMaster Monkey ( 862126 ) * on Sunday January 22, 2006 @07:33PM (#14535033)

    This seems to be a variation on the theme of enhancing wine tate through the use of magnetic fields, as exemplified by such products as The Wine Clip [thewineclip.com], Wine Cellar Express [winecellarexpress.com], The Perfect Sommelier [perfectsommelier.com], and others.

    Being, as I am, an aficionado of cheap wine, this has been a subject of interest for me. Unfortunately, it seems that every 'study' done on the subject that bears out the magnet treatment theory has not been done in a properly rigorous scientific fashion, while any study done in such a fashion fails to find any correlation between treatment by magnetic field and improvement of taste.

    Speaking of properly rigorous scientific studies (or lack therof), from TFA:
    To the untrained palate, a bottle of Beaujolais Nouveau 2005 strained through the machine became a more full-bodied, complex wine. Similar treatment to a Sauvignon Blanc 2004 resulted in a drier aftertaste.
    No mention of any scientific-ish study to determine objectively whether or not the machine has any positive effects. I fear this may just be the same old snake oil all over again.

    Until I see the results of a few double-blind studies on the effects of this device, I'm suspending judgement.
    • by Darkman, Walkin Dude ( 707389 ) on Sunday January 22, 2006 @07:38PM (#14535054) Homepage

      Honestly, the whole wine tasting industry is mostly snake oil anyway. I can't find the link, but sone researchers did a "pepsi challenge" type of test with a group of experienced wine tasters. The result? No two wine tasters reported the same taste, body, or whatever from the same wines. Their repsonses were, in fact, wildly dissimilar.

      Bring back the good old days, when wine had the same social status as lager, thats what I say!

      • by seifried ( 12921 ) on Sunday January 22, 2006 @07:57PM (#14535135) Homepage

        John Cleese did a short documentary called "Wine for the confused." Towards the end of it he buys 5 bottles of wine ranging in price from $5 US to several hundred. He puts them in brown paper bags with laters ([A-E])and has 20 odd people try them all (some movie star friends/etc, generally people who supposedly drink a lot of expensive wine). He then asks "which wine did you think was the most expensive one" to which the various people say A, B, D, E, John Cleese then says "I'm not hearing a lot of "C." Turns out that no-one thought the most expensive wine was the best one, in fact several thought the $5 bottle was the best. The moral of the story: wine, like food and coloirs is a matter of individual taste and price often has little bearing on what we truly enjoy. Personally I can't stand Beaujolais, I've tried a few and found every single one utterly repulsive.

        Wine for the Confused (2004) (TV) [imdb.com]

        • by Greyfox ( 87712 ) on Sunday January 22, 2006 @10:18PM (#14535756) Homepage Journal
          One of my old favorites for "Smooth and Mellow" used to be the Beringer reserve but it was pricey (For me) at around $60 a bottle. Pretty much every wine I tried while visiting Romania tasted as good or better to me and ran me in the neighborhood of $3 a bottle. You can't find the Beringer reserve as easily anymore and lately I've been preferring sake as I was getting tired of purple teeth. Now my favorite bottle of sake is from Horin and runs me $27 a bottle at a local liquor store, though a couple of the sushi restaurants around here charge 2 to 3 times as much for it. Horin's great cold and if I'm introducing a sake newbie to sake, it's the stuff I use.

          In general I'd suggest ignoring the wine snobs and trying a few wines on your own, if you're in to that sort of thing. A good wine is one you like. Just be sure to keep notes so you'll remember which ones you like 3 months later when you're shopping for another bottle. Also, since taste is subjective, I find it worthwhile to go back every so often and try some wine you didn't like so much. Sometimes your perspective will have shifted in the intervening time and you'll like it the second time around. Of course, I think the last glass of wine out of the bottle is always much better than the first one if you drink it all at once...

          • I think the last glass of wine out of the bottle is always much better than the first one if you drink it all at once

            You know, I enjoy beligian beers a whole lot (amount, not frequencey) and I often find the same experience where the last one tastes very very good. Oftentimes even a type that I wouldn't like on the first beer. If only I could find some corelation between drinking beer or wine and enjoying things. Hmmm... maybe these drinks have SOMETHING in common that I'm just not grasping.
          • A good wine is one you like.

            Peasant!

            -jcr
             
        • As with anything else in life expensive doesn't automatically equal best. My goal as a person who enjoys wine is to find wine that I like and is inexpensive. Generally I drink wine costing maybe $10/bottle. There are plenty of good wines to be had for that price.

          I've also had wine costing anywhere from $500-$1000/bottle. Did it taste better than the cheaper ones? The avg drinker would probably say no. Usually what an expensive bottle adds is a range of flavors that change over time as the wine is dran
      • What I don't understand is that BN (The type of wine tested) is produced to be drunk immediately. It is already "smooth" before the process that was mentioned even gets to it. In fact, BN doesn't age well at all, and shouldn't be drunk more than a year or two out from bottling...
      • Honestly, the whole wine tasting industry is mostly snake oil anyway.

        I once ran across - in an upscale liquor shop, no less- a brand of wine which was called "Cheap White Wine". My palate isn't sophisticated enough to comment on the wine's body, aroma, etc., but said wine was indeed white, was indeed cheap, and the label was printed on something which resembled a paper bag in both texture and color.

        Naturally, I had to buy it. If nothing else, everyone got a laugh out of it, and it was refreshing to see t

      • by AtomicBomb ( 173897 ) on Sunday January 22, 2006 @09:06PM (#14535433) Homepage
        The product sounds like snake oil to me. The aging of alcohol is a fairly complex chemical process. It is just very hard to preferentially remove one off-flavour by, say, increasing the storage temperature, adding some funny chemical without affect a whole matrix of other related compounds, even for relative simple product like beer... (Well, my info is really from beer brewery where I had worked for a major one before.)

        But, for tasting, human taster are indispensable. In the brewery that I worked for, senior lab techs were trained to taste a certain chemical level in beer. We had controls (say add extra chemical in sub ppm level to beer), regular training (put just x ppm of that chemical to distilled water such that we learnt the difference between the minute changes) and followed standard scientific practice (blinded test). Human regularly outperform the modern $100,000 machines (GC/ HPLC) for compound like diacetyl.

        However, I agree that a lot of the wine "connoisseurs" probably do not know what they are talking about... they just learnt to use big word to foil the crowd.

      • Honestly, the whole wine tasting industry is mostly snake oil anyway. I can't find the link, but sone researchers did a "pepsi challenge" type of test with a group of experienced wine tasters. The result? No two wine tasters reported the same taste, body, or whatever from the same wines. Their repsonses were, in fact, wildly dissimilar.

        This doesn't mean it's snake oil, it means that different people have different tastes.

        Consider an analogy to movies. Not every review gives every movie that same rating,
      • I dislike virtually every wine I have ever tasted. (just to get my bias out of the way).

        My parents recently took a wine appreciation course. When describing a win there was little push for the descriptions to be based on anything particular. The fact is, any wine can taste quite different to different people.

        It was quite possible by the end of the course for most of the people to identify which family of wines they appreciated the most. My mother has one particular family of wines she likes, while my father
    • by Beryllium Sphere(tm) ( 193358 ) on Sunday January 22, 2006 @07:42PM (#14535072) Homepage Journal
      Even if it works it won't catch on. Wine is like exotic stereo equipment: people are paying for expensiveness.

      If there's a positive effect, then the reason is something other than what they're claiming. The article gives two irreconcilable explanations for what the machine is doing. one of which is wrong and one of which is nonsensical.
      • Even if it works it won't catch on. Wine is like exotic stereo equipment: people are paying for expensiveness.
         
        Check the demographic; it's being tried out in Japan where people go nuts over the latest techno-fad. I'm suprised the wine makers aren't lined up for it.
    • Anybody that claims "We tried X, and it produced amazing results! Nobody understands the scientific reason behind it, but I sure can tell you it works." is almost certainly peddling snake oil. If something has a profound effect and obviously works, isn't it usually something that's easy to test in the laboratory? And wouldn't it be easy to get research funding for if it's easy to demonstrate? And aren't scientists constantly looking for the next big thing to boost their career? So where is the flock of
    • I know you RTFA, because you quoted from it, but you left out the explanation of how the machine works

      His company's machine is a two-chambered device roughly the size of a stereo. Wine passes through one and tap water passes through the other; a membrane the company has patented separates the two.

      Platinum electrodes provide the juice, driving negative ions - the cause of acidity - from the wine into the water.

      [Your quoted text here]

      and why the resulting wine is better

      On top of a faster production time, elec

      • > Platinum electrodes provide the juice, driving negative ions - the cause of acidity - from the wine into the water.

        Umm... acid is H+ (or H3O+) ions. Which are not negative. In fact, they are the exact opposite of negative - positive.

        Snake oil.
    • Unlike the magnets, this electrical system really does chemically change the wine. It's a good question whether its effect is chemically similar to what you'd get if you just let the wine sit in a cellar for 2 decades... but I'm keeping an open mind. In my view, it's unlikely that the aging effect is so chemically complex and exacting that it couldn't be accelerated or at least simulated nearly enough, or even improved upon!

      I would certainly pay $5 for a bottle of new wine treated this way, just to see wh

    • There was a scandal in Europe in the 1980s, particularly Germany/Austria, where they added glycol (antifreeze) to the wine to bring out the flavor. A lot of experts, unaware, said that the glycol saturated wines had a deeper, mellower flavor or some such nonsense.

      Needless to say, I think 90% of the whole "tasting" industry is pretentious nonsense started to skyrocket the price of certain brands/lines.
  • Huh? (Score:4, Funny)

    by pegr ( 46683 ) on Sunday January 22, 2006 @07:36PM (#14535048) Homepage Journal
    So who else read the headline and thought it was a story about running Windows apps on your MacIntel?
  • God help them (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TubeSteak ( 669689 ) on Sunday January 22, 2006 @07:38PM (#14535055) Journal
    Wine snobs have their noses so far up in the air, I don't understand why they don't get nosebleeds.

    My guess: This is going to turn into the same type of fight with 'natural' diamonds vs 'artificial' diamonds.

    However, I give the win to Hiroshi Tanaka & Company.

    Unlike the diamond industry, nobody can effectively lock you out of the alcohol business.
    • shochu? too bad (Score:4, Interesting)

      by 246o1 ( 914193 ) on Sunday January 22, 2006 @07:45PM (#14535083)
      I'd like to try this out, living in Japan as I do, but if you'd ever tried shochu, perhaps you'd understand that it's not exactly that similar to wine. I personally can't stand the drink straight, but it's great in mixed drinks, the so-called chu-hai (short for shochu highball) that come in all sorts of delicious flavors.

      Shochu has been very popular amongst young people lately, so there's a big market they can hit. I hope they convince a sake or wine company to try it, so I can give it a try. Here's the wikipedia link to find out more on shochu: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shochu [wikipedia.org]
      • I drank shochu when I was in Japan; I liked the flavored ones (shiso flavor is nice) and mixed drinks but I agree, by itself it is terrible. It's as good a mixer as vodka though because it's a clear flavor and it accentuates other flavors you mix it with. I'm surprised I haven't seen it in the US. Korean Soju, however, is pretty popular on the west coast, mostly because some enterprising lobbyist got the state of CA to pass a law declaring Soju is in the same category as wine for bar licensing purposes (
    • by Bazzalisk ( 869812 ) on Sunday January 22, 2006 @07:51PM (#14535114) Homepage
      Unlike the diamond industry, nobody can effectively lock you out of the alcohol business.

      Shows what you know! Alcoholics Anonymous have been running the industry from behind the scenes for years!

    • by Belseth ( 835595 ) on Sunday January 22, 2006 @08:08PM (#14535177)
      Wine snobs have their noses so far up in the air, I don't understand why they don't get nosebleeds.

      I sense a beer drinker. If they ever come up with a way to turn fine British beer into Budwiser I'll let you know.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 22, 2006 @07:39PM (#14535059)
    Only problem is that drinkers must be accelerated to relativistic speeds to be effective. Innovative Design and Technology is currently looking for funding to clear this final, minor hurtle to the process.
  • by kuzb ( 724081 ) on Sunday January 22, 2006 @07:43PM (#14535076)
    All a machine like this is going to do is make your wine worth less. A good well-aged wine is expensive because of the time it takes to make it. If all of the sudden you're pumping them out like cans of coke, you're going to have cheap wine regardless of how it tastes. People need to remember there is a huge traditional following where winemaking is concerned. People who truly appreciate fine wines will not buy stuff which breaks from traditional wine making.
    • by Sefert ( 723060 ) on Sunday January 22, 2006 @07:51PM (#14535108)
      People who make their own product for their own consumption is who. My brother makes his own wines for himself - imagine the fun he'd have seeing what his wine would taste like in one, two or three years with this machine. I agree - most 'real' wine makers probably wouldn't want to touch this, except for the vineyards that already 'temper' their wine to taste the same year after year like the Ernest and Julio Gallo types, but I think there's a huge home market possibility here.
    • The time (labor) and the years of time building the knowledge of the vinters to blend it just right, and time to age it just right. Next thing you know they'll be turning Beer into Champagne for those who can't afford the real thing! I don't think this will affect the high end wine brands. Many wine brands are recoginized as premium and consumers will pay the higher price when the wine really does not have the quality to demand the price.
    • I assume that you refuse to buy man-made diamonds as well? Despite the fact that you can't tell the difference and they cost quite a bit less?
      • I assume that you refuse to buy man-made diamonds as well? Despite the fact that you can't tell the difference and they cost quite a bit less?

        Yeah, notice how you never see artifical diamonds in jewelry. The diamond cartels have "educated" people into thinking A) diamonds are rare, and B) manufactured diamonds are inferior. Even if this questionable/crazy contraption does work, it'll never be accepted by the "wine industry".

    • People nowadays might pay an awful lot for a genuine monk-painted illuminated manuscript. There probably are still a few on sale to exclusive customers. But do you think any modern book publisher would willing go back to small volume, high price? The bulk market is bigger.
  • no more Barrels (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TubeSteak ( 669689 ) on Sunday January 22, 2006 @07:47PM (#14535087) Journal
    heh, I just RTFA and this part made me laugh
    "Think of the savings we'll make. Shorter production time, no need for storage, no need to invest in barrels," he said.
    Recently, in England, they cut down a 340 yr old oak tree to make wine barrels.

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,13509-2000 913,00.html [timesonline.co.uk]

    Part of the cachet of drinking fine wines is that it is expensive and exclusive. Once you start allowing the hoi polloi to have access, it no longer becomes so special.

    To make an example you'll all understand, think G-Mail invites. Specifically, when they first started getting passed around.
    • Re:no more Barrels (Score:5, Informative)

      by clifyt ( 11768 ) on Sunday January 22, 2006 @08:06PM (#14535168)
      "Recently, in England, they cut down a 340 yr old oak tree to make wine barrels."

      Actually -- they cut down the 340 year old tree because it was infested and needed to be destroyed before it infested other 300 year old trees around it.

      The fact that the tree was well known and thus to be used for wine making is secondary. I read this the other day and treehuggers were getting all bent out of shape about it until someone picked up the full story.

      But yeah, wine in a barrel tastes 'more complex'. Better? I don't know...I don't care. But the wine snobs I know can actually tell you the type of barrel it was stored in by the characteristics of the wine (apparently its not hard to figure out if you studied the subject).
      • Reminds me of an old Asimov short story about the difference between synthetic garlic flavour and the real thing...I forget what it was, but it conveyed the same sentiment - that natural garlic was infinitely more complex and subtle than synthetic garlic even though food synthesis technology had reached its peak in the future.
      • From my half-assed research into the subject, a barrel does two things. First, it contributes flavor. The newer the barrel and the longer the wine is sYou can tell, at least to a certain extent.tored in the barrel, the more flavor is contributed. Second, it allows the young wine to evaporate (which does not really happen if the wine is properly stored in either glass or stainless steel). Wine makers have to make sure that the barrel is full. The more space is open in the barrel, the more surface area you h
    • Recently, in England, they cut down a 340 yr old oak tree to make wine barrels.

      It should be pointed out that the tree stood in France, which had the inevitable consequence of it being cut down in France, not England. FTA:

      The 120-ft Morat tree was planted in about 1665 in the Forêt de Tronçais, on the edge of the Massif Central, in the reign of Louis XIV.

      Interesting story nonetheless.
  • by 0rbit4l ( 669001 ) on Sunday January 22, 2006 @07:48PM (#14535094)
    I wonder if they've learned from the Simpsons and are just adding antifreeze...
  • Now way (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Eightyford ( 893696 )
    This will never take off. Expensive wine is no different than expensive diamonds. People buy them because they are expensive. We've created diamonds in labs that "don't have enough impurities", according to the jewelry industry (and people seem so agree for some reason). This wine wont "have enough impurities" either.
    • Re:Now way (Score:3, Interesting)

      by daniel_mcl ( 77919 )
      A good deal of the character of fine wines and spirits comes precisely from the "impurities," which are actually just the various flavors present in the wine. The goal (my statements here actually apply to Scotch Whisky, with which I'm more familiar, but should generalize to wine) is to produce something with an intricate, multifaceted flavor -- exactly the opposite of what most beverage manufacturers (Coke, Pepsi, etc.) are trying to do. These sorts of "impurities" are the sort of things that set a paint
    • Re:Now way (Score:4, Interesting)

      by swordgeek ( 112599 ) on Sunday January 22, 2006 @09:00PM (#14535407) Journal
      You compare a few different things here, which aren't exactly comparable. Diamonds, for instance, are expensive primarily because DeBeers has spent over a century ruthlessly restricting supply, and creating artificial demand. The cultured diamonds are here, available, and cheap. However, the companies are facing threatening behaviour from DeBeers, legal sanctions (mostly brought about by DeBeers), and bad publicity (from...well, you know).

      Wine and spirits are another matter. The market is unfortunately filled with speculators who ultimately do nothing but drive up the price of rare wines, as well as insecure rich people who buy the "right" wines with no appreciation for them. However, good wines _do_ cost more because they come from lower producing vinyards, take more care to make, and require more _real_ aging which leads to evaporation. If this device could eliminate the aging and evaporation, then it might irritate some insecure twits, but most wine lovers would be ecstatic at being able to buy world-class wine for under a hundred bucks.

      Unfortunately, it's pseudoscience at its worst. Pity, really.
    • You're misreading the intent. This device isn't intended to make expensive wine cheap. It's intended to make cheap wine taste better.

      People who drive Lexus automobiles aren't a relevant concern when making more comfortable seats in Camrys.

      For your comment to be true, there can't be anyone out there that buys cheap wine. As two buck chuck demonstrated, there's a tremendous market out there for cheap wine that's decent quality.

      Low price doesn't mean a wine isn't worth drinking. [lsj.com]
  • Sake is Not Wine (Score:5, Informative)

    by good soldier svejk ( 571730 ) on Sunday January 22, 2006 @07:56PM (#14535131)
    Sake is not wine. [esake.com] It is made from grain and brewed. By law and common sense that makes it beer in the US.
    • by paedobear ( 808689 )
      It's made from rice. By law and common sense that makes it not-beer everywhere BUT the US.
  • by BlueBoxSW.com ( 745855 ) on Sunday January 22, 2006 @07:59PM (#14535143) Homepage
    Beaujolais Nouveau is SUPPOSED to be drank right after a short fermentation process. It tastes like CRAP if it's allowed to age more than 6 months.

    In france they have festivals mid-november, when the year's Beaujolais Nouveau's are officially allowed to be drank.
  • now... (Score:5, Funny)

    by arghblubber ( 948051 ) on Sunday January 22, 2006 @08:00PM (#14535148)
    ... i was wondering for a second what tha kazaa guys had against that emulator thingy
  • by Freaky Spook ( 811861 ) on Sunday January 22, 2006 @08:04PM (#14535163)
    I don't think this will effect fine wine, with all of its Traditions and it has an established community that celebrates it, almost like a religion.

    With the cheaper tablewines though this will probably be good for business, wine won't have to be stored as long and better products can be served to the market. I like table wine and I have found there are some really good ones & really bad ones, something like this could improve the overall quality of the cheaper wines & make it a lot eaiser to find a good cheap wine.

    With boutique beer becoming more popular & mixed drinks going into more exotic flavours and still being sold at really cheap prices, improved table wine quality would help it compete against these products.
  • Bad Example (Score:3, Informative)

    by hopbine ( 618442 ) on Sunday January 22, 2006 @08:13PM (#14535205)
    Beaujolais Nouveau is best when it is young. The third Thursday of November is the day it's shipped.
  • Was I the only one thinking FastTrack wanted to fine the Wine project for something?
  • by maino82 ( 851720 ) on Sunday January 22, 2006 @08:19PM (#14535233)
    ... is supposed to be drunk immediately anyway, so trying to turn it into a more "aged" wine is kind of defeating the purpose. wine snobs from all over travel to france every year to drink this wine on the day it comes out. personally, i can't stand beaujolais nouveau anyway, so maybe this would make it more bearable, but for those who do enjoy it this is kind of pointless.
  • Total snake oil (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Trotsky820 ( 543230 ) on Sunday January 22, 2006 @08:22PM (#14535245)
    The article babbles on about breaking up the "water clusters" and letting alcohol more fully mix with the the water to make the wine age more quickly. In fact, wine ages by a number of complex reactions both in cask storage, and later in the bottle. In particular, fine red wines age in the bottle through a series of reactions, many involving the breakdown of various tannic molecules. Also, really fine wines age over years, cheaper wines designed to be drunk early just get worse after time. If you take a five liter jug of crap wine and store it in a cellar for ten years, it just tastes like crap. I saw a lot of comments here about the snob value of wine, and how that will hold this process back. Actually the wine industry is pretty open to new technology in all but the most hidebound, traditional regions. The reason you will never here about this process again, is because it won't do anything, not because "the industry" will quash it.
    • "the wine industry is pretty open to new technology"

      Then why are they still mostly using corks, which have no advantages whatsoever and cause a percentage of the wine to spoil?
    • Back in 1981, I bought my wine-buff brother a bottle of $2.95 moselle as a joke. (It was Ben Ean, for those Australians reading this.) To return the favour, he laid it down, and opened it nine years later on my 30th birthday.

      The years had been kind to it. It was almost a dessert wine; thick, golden yellow, and sweet. Frankly, it was very good. Certainly a lot better than when bought.

      On the other hand, I had some Merlot turn into vinegar very quickly. Come to think of it, I still have a bottle of that stuff
  • by meiocyte ( 455845 ) on Sunday January 22, 2006 @08:24PM (#14535253) Homepage
    "Platinum electrodes provide the juice, driving negative ions - the cause of acidity - from the wine into the water."


    wtf? Free protons (H+) or hydronium ions [wikipedia.org] are the cause of acidity, not negative ions!
  • I like wine and hope it doesn't devalue the market much if this comes into existence.

    While I hope the same doesn't happen to sake, perhpaps, it will make it more popular. The problem with drinking sake outside of Japan, or at least in my experience in purchasing it in Canada, is that it is very expensive. There are $10 - $15 bottles which often taste like piss. The flavor is too strong (quite bitter actually) and over-powering when compared to the other (generally more expensive) sake. Though I've found som
    • Wine is made in many countries and is not exclusive to one country. Sake is AFAIK made only in Japan

      Scotch is only made in Scotland. The exact same product, made anywhere else, is called Whisky.

      Same type of thing goes on with cheeses and wines. If it isn't made in a certain region of the world, it doesn't get to use that name.

      Sake can be made anywhere in the world, but Japanese Sake is expensive outside Japan because of Japanese export tariffs on alcohol.

      Read this for more info: http://www.american.edu/TED/ [american.edu]

  • Wine? (Score:4, Funny)

    by Lord Apathy ( 584315 ) on Sunday January 22, 2006 @08:38PM (#14535315)

    Why is this on here? We are nerds, we don't care about wine. It's moonshine we are interested in. Figuring out the fermination process, the complex weaving of pipes. Stealing the shit required out of the school lab....

  • by Anonymous Coward
    The business about "water molecule clusters" in TFA sounds like nonsense from a chemical point of view. That simply isn't how wine aging works. Now, electrolysing wine certainly will have chemical effects, and it's at least halfway plausible that those effects could be similar to aging, and it's entirely probable that the reporter may not have accurately quoted the source... but the purported explanation for how it works doesn't sound like something that would come from people who had developed a technolo
    • ... but the purported explanation for how it works doesn't sound like something that would come from people who had developed a technology that really did work.

      Either that, or the people who developed the new process have no idea how it works and don't know enough about chemistry to realize their "explanation" doesn't make any sense. Imaging what kind of explanation the chinese came up with for how black powder works, back when they first discovered it. It probably makes as much sense now as the one in

  • by truckaxle ( 883149 ) on Sunday January 22, 2006 @08:42PM (#14535328) Homepage
    Unfortunately these inventions are always bought up by the powerful french wine cartel and shelved. Or worse sometimes these inventors meet their untimely demise. So sad.
  • Bullshit (Score:5, Informative)

    by swordgeek ( 112599 ) on Sunday January 22, 2006 @08:43PM (#14535331) Journal
    Hmm.

    Tannins can be polymerised, compounds can be oxidised, but a large part of what makes a good wine good is what it absorbs from and loses to the barrel. Furthermore, oxidatisation doesn't occur evenly through a wine (tends to be more surface area effect than all the way through) which means that different parts of the wine in the barrel are different, and blending them adds complexity.

    This (a) can't work well, and (b) doesn't work. I've got some audiophile toys which I could write /. articles about too, but that doesn't make them effective.
  • It seems that most of the comments belittle wine and wine drinkers as some sort of elitist group. I'm guessing that the people who are posting these comments have never actually tasted good wine, or don't appreciate it. That, however, doesn't mean the difference doesn't exist and is not obvious to even casual wine drinkers.
    For those who actually enjoy wine, the ability to recreate the aging process rapidly is a sort of holy grail. Aging mellows out the harsh elements of a fine wine and brings out a tremendo
  • Wine Smine (Score:5, Funny)

    by Lord Apathy ( 584315 ) on Sunday January 22, 2006 @08:58PM (#14535397)

    Bah, wine. Keep your fine wine, give me a good bourbon or a scotch any way. You keep your wine, I'll keep my scotch and I can be drunk and passout on the floor in half the time you can.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 22, 2006 @09:22PM (#14535502)
    This is just nonsense.

    Beaujolais Nouveau is deliberately not aged (so as to not release tannins). Even once it has been delivered to your shelves, it is meant to be consumed right away. It is specifically designed to be a light, almost fruity red, rather than a strong, full-bodied expensive and long-aged wine like say a bordeux. Applying a technology to age it... completely misses the point of this varietal.
  • I was in Argentina recently, and any of their red wines (vino tinto) tasted better than the wines we get in the UK*. That doesn't mean that I can tell if one is oak-matured, or full-bodied, or has a fruity bouquet - but I can tell that Wine A tastes better, and has less of a nasty aftertaste than Wine B.
    I brought back two bottles of San Felicien Cabernet Sauvignon - mmmm, that stuff is good. Hic.

    * I don't spend a lot on wines here - I'm sure if you spend £50 or up, you can get decent wine here.
  • WINE (Score:3, Funny)

    by ClamIAm ( 926466 ) on Sunday January 22, 2006 @10:15PM (#14535750)
    This Wine Is Not Emulated.
  • by TeknoHog ( 164938 ) on Sunday January 22, 2006 @10:19PM (#14535768) Homepage Journal
    FTA:
    In the natural maturation process, the taste of wine is enhanced by the mixture of alcohol with water molecule clusters, Tanaka says.

    Though the exact mechanism of water molecule clusters remain a matter of scientific debate, Tanaka claims the electrolysis treatment instantaneously breaks up water clusters in the wine, allowing the water to more thoroughly blend with the alcohol.

    AFAIK, there's a lot more than this to wine maturation. One important effect is esterification of carboxylic acids and alcohols, which produces entirely new aromas. In lab conditions it is possible to esterify substances in a few minutes using strong catalysts such as sulphuric acid and high temperatures, but it takes months or years in a wine cellar.

    Besides, as others have mentioned already, it's silly to try and mature Beaujolais Noveau, as it's meant to be enjoyed straight away after production.

  • by HermanAB ( 661181 ) on Sunday January 22, 2006 @11:29PM (#14536042)
    Imagine how much one can save if the wine is made with dehidrated water to reduce shipping costs and then zap treated into quality wine...
  • by humankind ( 704050 ) on Monday January 23, 2006 @04:30AM (#14537225) Journal
    This device is bogus. I've tried many of the so-called "aging devices" and they don't work. Tasting Notes [lawineclub.com] don't lie. You cannot take cheap wine and make it good. Wine is only as good as the grapes, care and resources that went into producing it.

    That's not to say you can't make wine taste different, and it's well known that even marginal red wine, if "aged" will change its taste and sensory profile. Sometimes this is better, sometimes it is worse. But thousands of years has shown that a wine's aging potential is related to its initial quality and care.

    This doesn't stop people from trying to come up with goofy devices though. However, if you want to "age" wine, just leave it in your car for a little while. I won't promise it will taste better, but it will have more mileage on it.

Disraeli was pretty close: actually, there are Lies, Damn lies, Statistics, Benchmarks, and Delivery dates.

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