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Brief Published: 17 Nov 2014

Ultrasound-Aged Wine

The Sonic Decanter

Washington-based scientist Charles Leonhardt has teamed up with US tech firm Dionysus Technology Concepts to create a device that replicates the wine-ageing process within minutes, using ultrasound.

The electronic Sonic Decanter features different settings for red and white wines. Users pour cold water, which acts as a conductor for sound-wave energy, into the cylindrical machine before slotting in their chosen bottle of wine.

The patented process claims to remove oxygen and sulphur dioxide from the wine in fewer than 20 minutes, transforming the molecular and chemical structure and improving the taste, texture and aroma. The product can also be used to re-energise uncorked and older wines.

In response to growing demand, brands are developing efficient wine-ageing processes that create good-quality alcohol within short timeframes. Chicago distillery Koval barrel-ages its whisky for just a few months in order to preserve the flavour of its grains. Similarly, New York's White Pie Whiskey is barrel-aged for just 18 minutes before being bottled. Read more in Drinks Development: Alcohol.

Other liquor companies are taking alcohol-ageing methods a step further by submerging barrels or bottles in the ocean. Scientific evidence has found that when placed at a certain depth, the pressure of the water impacts the taste of the alcohol, as discussed in Cask-Aged Liquor: A New Approach. Specifically, bottles of wine submerged in the sea are said to have more complex flavours and more supple tannins, the group of compounds that affects colour, ageing ability and texture of wine, compared to wine aged on land.

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