Winery produces synthetic Italian sparkler

A San Francisco-based start-up has developed a method of making ‘wine’ without grapes that it claims is able to mimic the aroma and flavour profile of fine vintages.

red wine tasting man

Ava’s synthetic wine is made by mixing artificial flavour compounds with ethanol

By combining flavour compounds and ethanol, the fledgling Ava Winery claimed it is able to turn “water into wine” in just 15 minutes, speaking to the New Scientist.

Founded by Mardonn Chua and Alec Lee, the pair came up with the idea as a way of enjoying fine wines, without having to stump up the cash.

It was a bottle of Chateau Montelena, which is famous for being the first Californian Chardonnay to beat French contenders at the Paris Wine Tasting of 1976, that sparked the idea.

“I was transfixed by this bottle displayed on the wall,” said Chua. “I could never afford a bottle like this, I could never enjoy it. That got me thinking.”

Chua began experimenting with fruit flavour compounds like ethyl hexanoate, which has a fruity, pineapple-like aroma, to recreate a wine’s profile.

Typically, the aroma, flavours and complexity found in a wine are derived from the winemaker’s use of grapes in the blend and the methods employed in the winery. A ‘wine’ that is not made from grapes is strictly not a wine at all.

In making their synthetic wines, the Ava Winery uses scientific tools such as gas chromatography-mass spectrometry to identify flavour compounds within wine. These are artificially created and then mixed with ethanol to give the ‘wine’ an abv content.

The pair’s first effort described as a “monstrous concoction” .It took six months for the pair to perfect their first ‘wine’, eventually producing an experimental synthetic wine that mimics the taste of the sparkling Italian white wine Moscato d’Asti.

They now plan to take on Champagne, and are currently working on a ‘wine’ that mimics Dom Pérignon to be unveiled later this year.

What are your thoughts on this project? Please leave a comment below.

One Response to “Winery produces synthetic Italian sparkler”

  1. Ingrid says:

    Champagne comes from Champagne, France. Moscato d’Asti comes from Italy. Period.
    Possible that you can make a similar tadte. But what about health? Mouthfeel? The fine bubbles? The yeastyness of real champagne? How long will the fake wine will keep its flavours? I cannot imagind that the fake is a good alternative for real wine. I would not buy it.

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