Features

Published: Thursday March 6, 2014 MYT 10:15:00 AM
Updated: Thursday March 6, 2014 MYT 10:25:53 AM

Countertop device claims to turn water into wine

Process takes only three days in Miracle Machine.

IT’S being billed as a countertop device that can turn water into wine, with the potential to herald “a new era” in winemaking and transform the industry.

The pitch is bold and audacious but, if successful, could ring true.

Imagined by two wine experts in California, the Miracle Machine is a slim, tabletop device that syncs up to a mobile app and claims to be capable of reproducing any style of wine at a fraction of the cost and time.

After opening the app, users can choose the type of wine – full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir – and the desired style, with options that include fruity, lively and forward.

Then, users add the grape concentrate and the recommended yeast specially developed for the machine, along with 600ml of water.

Starting the fermentation process requires the touch of a smartphone button.

As the elixir sits in the fermentation chamber, the app will monitor the progress. Near the end of the three-day process, users are to add a sachet of “finishing powder” that contains oak and other flavourings to simulate the ageing process. When it’s finished, the app will then notify users that the wine is ready to drink.

The idea for a tech-savvy wine machine originated during a casual, wine-soaked conversation among two wine experts in California on the lag between the wine industry and technology. When Philip James, an online wine entrepreneur, jokingly pointed out that today’s technology should be able to turn water into wine just like Jesus, he and sommelier Kevin Boyer shared a chuckle, their website says.

But the pair “knew they were on to something” when they still thought it was a good idea the morning after, in clear-headed sobriety.

At the heart of the Miracle Machine’s technology is the fermentation chamber, they say, which works by a complex system of electrical sensors, ultrasonic transducers, heaters and air diffuser pumps, all of which work together to produce in just three days a wine that tastes like it’s been aged for a year.

Part of the marketing pitch is also to make wine – traditionally seen as a product consumed by a more elite group – more accessible, approachable and affordable for regular households.

Ingredients like grape concentrates and yeast will be sold on the site and on Amazon.

And while the creators herald their new invention as a game changer in the industry for its technological advancements, at-home wine kits – albeit more rudimentary – have long been popular among oenophiles looking to make their own batch of vino.

Miracle Machine will be launching a Kickstarter campaign to raise money for the idea and start production on 2,000 devices. The machine will retail for US$499 (RM1,632).

Watch the introductory video at Vimeo.

Tags / Keywords: Lifestyle, Miracle Machine, winemaking

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