New device ‘speeds up wine ageing’

A device dubbed the “Wine Grenade” designed to speed up the ageing process of red wine to make it more approachable at a younger age has been invented.

As reported by Stuff.co.nz, inventors of the handheld gadget hope to “revolutionise” the wine industry but cutting down two years of ageing to six months through micro-oxygenation.

The Wine Grenade was created by five Auckland University students – Hamish Elmslie, Jonathan Boswell, Philip Cockrell, Jorg Kampschreur and Mike Moore.

The quintet turned their idea into reality after securing NZ$100,000 in funding in 2014 via a Dragon’s Den-style business competition run by the university.

“The Wine Grenade is a simple device that puts the process of micro-oxygenation within reach of all winemakers,” Elmslie told Stuff.co.nz. Studies have shown that the cost of ageing wine in a barrel is in the dollars-per-litre while the Wine Grenade will cost just cents-per-litre,” he added.

The device has been designed to work only in tanks, but there is potential for the technology to be tweaked and used in barrels. The Wine Grenade is currently being trialed at Hawke’s Bay winery Sacred Hill with Merlot and Pinot Noir.

Winemaker Tony Bish told Stuff.co.nz that he was impressed with the development so far but is unclear whether the device will change the flavour profile of the wines.

The Wine Grenade may appeal to smaller wineries that can’t afford pricey micro-oxygenation systems but is unlikely to be used in the production of fine wines.

The five inventors of the Wine Grenade

The five inventors of the Wine Grenade

“If the wine is a premium one, traditional winemaking can’t be beaten, but if it’s for value purposes, then absolutely use it,” said Mt Difficulty winemaker Matt Dicey, adding, “For us you can’t replicate what we do in the barrels – you are never going to get the same response.”

Undeterred, Elmslie is due to showcase the device in Bordeaux and California in the next few weeks, where he thinks producers will bite.

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