By: Jocelyn Schwalm
“I cook with wine, sometimes I even add it to the food.” – W.C. Fields
The prestige of wine has always been within the elaborate process it takes to get the fermentation just right.The process of winemaking has been perfected over the ages, with steps taken to ensure the quality. Places like Napa Valley, California are known for their famous wineries and top of the line grapes, but thanks to this new invention, the entire idea of wineries could become obsolete with time.
A Micro-Winery has been created by a professor at the University of Iowa, who is now able to make wine within minutes, instead of months. This micro-winery is a small winery marked by its unrequired vineyard for the wine making process, simply requiring access to grape juice. Traditional wineries have a long list of steps, where the product at the end is a perfectly aged alcoholic beverage. Before the micro-winery, the fermentation process itself took between 3-4 weeks. This process varied depending on the type of wine,(red, white, rosé) the amount of sugar and the quality. For the highest quality of wine, with more taste, color and aroma, the aging process was from 1-12 months. This new machine takes only 1 hour for the fermentation process, and it is able to incorporate the exact amount of yeast needed to make any desired wine. It also allows much more leniency in the fermentation processes, where strict rules had to be followed for the fermentation process to be successful.
Perhaps most importantly, the new machine was invented as a solution to the effects of climate change on vineyards. Due to warmer temperatures, earlier in the year, the grapes are ripening much too soon causing the value of the wine to decline. This micro-winery is the perfect example of technology born out of environmental destruction. The machine is still in the process of being perfected, as scientists and sommeliers alike are saying that the old-fashioned way of winemaking may provide a better taste. Although it may cause sommeliers to shake their heads, wine is wine, and for those who enjoy a glass daily the process is extraneous as they are sipping on a glass of their favorite alcoholic beverage.