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7 comments
The Feature Creep

Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Boston, MA
Posts: 1076

Wine and age

10/12/2005 9:01 AM

In rural Shizuoka Japan Hiroshi Tanaka has created a machine that can age a bottle of wine years in 15 seconds. That means that a cheap 2 year old wine can be made to taste like an expensive 50 year old wine. How does he do it?

From The Austrailian: "The machine works by pumping wine and tap water through a specially designed electrolysis chamber equipped with wafer-thin platinum electrodes. The water and wine are separated by an ion exchange membrane -- the key component, for which Mr Tanaka holds the patent.

Basically it causes the kind of decay that generally takes place over several years, with the hydrogen and oxygen atoms being rearranged around the alcohol molecules. The electrolyser converts about 4 litres of wine a minute. And just so you know it looks like the machine costs about $1.5 million right now.

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Friend of CR4

Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 2016
Good Answers: 35
#1

Age isn't eveything

10/12/2005 10:14 AM

Age by itself does not make a great wine. In fact, most wines aged more than a few years will turn to vinegar. It isn't just age that adds quality to heartier wines, it's how they change during the process. It's the flavors they draw from the casks they're aged in, it's the minerals in the cave, it's proper blending of varietals by the vintner before casking...I'm not taking the luddite approach saying that technology can't speed or the process or help it along. After all, amarone wines used to need a decade or more to age, and the process has been sped up to less than five with very good reults. But just aging Bully Hill or Yellowtail won't make them great wines.

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The Feature Creep

Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Boston, MA
Posts: 1076
#2
In reply to #1

Re:Age isn't everything

10/12/2005 10:21 AM

I do think that people who make good wines will jump at the chance to make their profit margins jump by making their good wine even better in a very short period of time.

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Associate

Join Date: May 2005
Location: Arlington, VA
Posts: 31
#3
In reply to #1

Re:Age isn't eveything

10/12/2005 10:45 PM

Yeah. After all, Richard's Wild Irish Rose tastes as good brand new as it does after ten years.

$1.5 million is not so much when you are trying to increase the price of wine these days. Some French wineries are looking into distilling their less expensive wines and turning them into fuel if the price of oil continues to increase. No joke.

Turning the cheap wine into more expensive wine will increase their value and possibly keep these bottles on the table and out of the gas tank.

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Boonying Trapurso - People's Institute for Synthetic Studies
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Friend of CR4

Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 2016
Good Answers: 35
#4
In reply to #3

Re:Age isn't eveything

10/13/2005 9:24 AM

This won't increase the price of wines, but it will make them quicker to market, which will have the opposite effect. There is a huge glut of wine on the worldwide market. That is why some of it is being distilled for other uses. Better that, then pour out something that doesn't have a long shelf life. If many of the larger wineries were to employ this device, in one year you would have twice as much wine hitting the market (the naturally aged stuff that is ready for market and the quickly aged 2005 vintage). Prices will not go up, but down. Aging will not drive up the price, it will just make the wine palettable more quickly. I also wonder about the longterm survivablity of these wines. Much of the heartiness of cabs, pinots, burgandies, etc., comes from casking the mash with stems, leaves and other agents to impart tannins and allow for the natural development of preservative sulfites. If these steps are removed, you may have 2005 cabs which go to market and are past prime within a year. That's just terrible.

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Commentator

Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 95
#5

Wines

10/14/2005 3:39 AM

In my view, the biggest benefit could lie in eliminating the inexorable wait for my home brew!!!.........Anyone got his phone number??

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Friend of CR4

Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 2016
Good Answers: 35
#6
In reply to #5

Re:Wines

10/14/2005 8:33 AM

Spend up home brewing is something that even I can embrace!

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Friend of CR4

Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 2016
Good Answers: 35
#7
In reply to #6

Re:Wines

10/14/2005 8:40 AM

I meant "Speeding up"

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