Article by Wine Searcher

Military technology might help speed up the aging of wine, according to a California scientist.

Pulsed power has been making its way into food processing, increasing how much juice can be extracted from apples and other fruit. Now it may find an unlikely-sounding application in wineries: making wine taste mature without the wait.

Even though the vast majority of what’s for sale in your local wine store is ready to be drunk within minutes of purchase, there’s no question that some wine improves with age. With time, even rough and abrasive tannins can become smooth and beautiful.

But time is expensive: stored wine takes up valuable space, and wineries are, like nearly everyone, impatient to see a faster return on their considerable investment. So scientists and are looking for ways to make that miracle of aging happen faster. Accelerated aging aims to mimic the changes that make harsh, disjointed wines easier to drink and more integrated over time, only faster: seconds or minutes instead of months or years.

Science offers speedy maturation option

The most promising technology – pulsed electric field (PEF) generators, or pulsed power – converts conventional low power into short bursts of extremely high power, equivalent to the output of a nuclear power plant for the nanoseconds it operates. PEF can kill microbes on fruit and vegetable surfaces, increase juice yields from apples and grapes and maybe make that young rough red more potable tomorrow instead of five years from now.

Dr. Dan Singleton, president of Transient Plasma Systems in El Segundo, California, thinks that PEF has a real future in the wine industry. The technology should appeal most to large wineries looking to make easy-to-drink wines at affordable prices, especially since PEF-treated grapes yield as much as 30 percent more juice: more wine from the same amount of grapes.