Wine Talk

Snooth User: Degrandcru

Artificial maturation of wine

Posted by Degrandcru, Dec 18, 2008.

Chinese scientists developed a method to age wine artificially by treating it with electromagnetic fields. Some wineries in China are already using this new technology and the scientists claim that it could revolutionize winemaking:


Reply by Mark Angelillo, Dec 18, 2008.

Incredible. This raises so many questions for me. What are the effects on different grape varieties? Does quality of the wine that you start with effect the process? Does the wine reach a point where it degrades? Can you "age" the wine in this way and then lay it down? Will this process significantly increase the price of wines? If perfected, will it ruin the trade in high quality wines?

Time will tell, I guess. Thanks for the links.

Reply by Degrandcru, Dec 18, 2008.

In my understanding it would just affect the aging effect of the the wine. So you still would need the grapes and wine making skills to produce good wine and then only shorten the aging process. Meaning a good wine would still be a good wine and a bad wine still a bad one, just more mature. If anything prices would go down, as winemakers could move their inventory faster.

Reply by Rodolphe Boulanger, Dec 18, 2008.

I wonder how the results compare to a conventionally aged wine. Of course we can never know because we'd need to wait for the 2007 XYZ vineyards wine to age whereas the artificially magnetized version would be ready now.

I would imagine that this artificial process can't achieve more than a few of the thousands of complex reactions that occur during the aging process including:
-tannins softening
-flavor molecule hydrolysis
-oxidation of aldehydes
-slow oxidation
-complex pigmentation chemical reactions
-phenolic reactions
-precipitation of sediments
-development of bouquet

Of course, at some points, all of these things are irrelevant commercially, if the consumers perceive the wine as drinkable.

BTW - Bordeaux's favorite modern technique, micro-oxygenation, is a form of artificially aging the wine so that it is ready to drink sooner.

Reply by Gregory Dal Piaz, Dec 18, 2008.

Yeah whatever.

File this along with

The Wine Pyramid
The wine key
and a slew of magnets that did nothing.

At best this sort of aging is to cellaring as microwaving is to cooking.

Yeah it gets the food hot but it really doesn't develop the flavor.

Reply by Degrandcru, Dec 19, 2008.

Greg: I am not convinced, but I really hope you are right.

Reply by ChipDWood, Dec 19, 2008.

Greg says: "At best this sort of aging is to cellaring as microwaving is to cooking."

Bingo. The first thing I thought of was the wine key, too.

Time. Though the saying goes that "the future is here now- it's just not equally distributed"- the best way to age a wine is to do just that. I have a feeling that will remain to be the case- amidst the clamor of the gimmick, the "new & improved!", and the... wine key.

When I can download wine on my iPod, then age it on my Mac, is when I'll believe. It will ALSO be when I buy more stock in Apple of course, but again; I digress.

Reply by scottdseaman, Dec 21, 2008.

I think we are looking at a PR Stunt to get the world to buy more of the wines from china. However, if these wines prove to be of the same juice from immature vines and poor fermentation techniques that I've had poured for me thus far... no amount of aging (mechanical, or otherwise) is going to help. Time cannot be created, nor avoided.

Reply by alavaughn, Feb 14, 2009.

Even if these things do work, I think it would be taking a good deal of the romance out of the wine experience. Isn't half of the fun, buying and cellaring wines, revisiting them once a year or so to see how they're developing, and just anticipating the changes that may occur in a wine? Even if you open a great bottle and it seems to be going through a "dumb" phase, it's still an exciting experience that you probably shared with one or two people close to you. Even the great disappointments in wine usually end up being great stories, and why would you want to side step all of that? Wine is amazing precisely because it develops and changes the way that it does, from grape to bottle, and over the passage of time, and I think it deserves a little bit of reverence.

Reply by whiskyjohn, May 20, 2009.

All wine can do is react with itself, the air, and the cork. That's what aging is. Non-ionizing electric or magnetic fields can heat the wine, increasing the rate of all the reactions, but they can't effect chemical change on their own. If they did, you would be chemically changing your brain whenever you used a cell phone (lots of people worry about that, too!)

I say, use your cell phone, cellar your wines, and stop worrying about the Chinese!

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