The Most Bizarre Wine Aging Methods on the Planet
The wine industry is no stranger to oddities, with many wineries and winemakers pushing the boundaries in an attempt to make the world's next best wine. While drying out soil and playing music to grapes have been methods used in the past, today we delve into something a little more intense: electricity, deep sea trenches and meteorites. What do all of these have in common? Aging wine – that's what.
Here are some bizarre ways people are aging their wine these days. And no, this isn't fiction.
Under the Sea
You've heard of treasure chests buried under the sea, but cases of wine?! An increasing number of wineries across the globe believe that storing wine in trenches under the sea causes an aging process that adds distinctive flavors and aromas to wine. A process that would require many more years of aging to achieve on land. Napa winemakers Mira Winery decided to test this concept, submerging four cases of their 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon to a 60-ft depth in South Carolina's Charleston Harbor for 3 months. The results showed that the wine had significantly improved, both in bouquet and taste – based on a control sample that had aged above ground.
The price? Only $1,000 a bottle.
So why exactly does this happen? According to research, it's down to controlled temperatures of 50-55 Fahrenheit, a lack of light and oxygen, and a combination of high pressure and increased sodium carbonate levels that increase flavor complexity.
While scientific research does show that this method enhances the wine, some skeptics believe that this may just be another marketing stint to sell a little wine for a whole lotta' money.
Imagine an electric chair that made people nicer, not dead – now replace people with wine. Essentially, a bloke in China called Xin An Zeng liked wine and set out to experiment on the effects of passing electricity through wine. He soon discovered that taking "plonk" or "really really bad wine" and putting it through a current of 1000 volts would enhance not only the bouquet, but the taste of the wine as well. Further experiments showed how reserve wines, once passed through the machine at the optimum 2 minute mark, could produce the same characteristics as being aged for up to five years.
Sounds a little shocking, right?
Now before you jump to conclusions – however disappointing it may be – scientists have not figured out a way to strap crates of wine to a meteorite for aging, only to retrieve them several years later. That would be amazing, totally impractical, but nevertheless amazing. So what is this all about?
A chap named Ian Hutcheon had two big passions in life. One was wine and the other was astronomy. Ian therefore decided to relocate to Chile and create his own winery. With the wine part sorted, he thought life was about to finally settle down. That was of course until an anonymous figure with a private museum decided to give him a 4.5 billion year old piece of meteorite. As the story goes, this rare phenomenon crashed into the Atacama Desert around 6,000 years ago, just miles from Ian's vineyard. So what do you do with a 4.5 billion year old meteorite? Well in Ian's case, you chuck it in your wine barrel.
Yep, with no hesitations Ian still to this day adds the meteorite to each of his Cabernet barrels for 25 days of aging (throughout the course of the year). He believes that this not only adds 'liveliness' to the wine, but describes how the drinker is 'tasting space' and giving them a 'chance to touch an element of space and taste particles of the birth of the solar system.' Now, the winemaker in me thinks this could be complete bollocks, but for the equivalent of $11.50 a bottle, I say we let people think they're tasting the universe; it's certainly not harming the piggy bank.
This story was taken from it's original author source (written by myself) at Vivino.