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The Winemaking Revenge of The Pod People

provinapod.jpgI like to keep up on the latest bizarre technologies out there for wine lovers, and was therefore pleased as pod...er..punch to have Tom over at Fermentation point out The Wine Pod. Apparently home winemaking is a big enough business (or these people think it will be) to create what amounts to basically the winemaking equivalent of those fancy automatic breadmakers:

"Just add all the ingredients, set the timer and wake up in the morning to smell of freshly baked bread."

While I don't think these guys have figured out how to make wine overnight, they seem to have a whole wiz-bang set of software and wireless monitoring, etc. etc. to turn the whole winemaking process into something as simple as operating a microwave.

All for just $2000. Now if their industrial designer had just looked somewhere else besides the Alien movies for design inspiration...

Comments (5)

Thom wrote:
02.20.06 at 5:49 PM

I love a good glass of wine but am somewhat of a newbie. In any case wife likes an inexpensive table wine- and we often drink Beringers Chenin Blanc. This evening I opened a bottle and discovered some kind of debris in the bottom of my glass (after I drank it). Any idea what this stuff is? (see my blog).

Alder wrote:
02.20.06 at 6:05 PM


Thanks so much for affording us all this teaching moment. While I can't be positive since I wasn't there, and can't entirely tell from your photo, that stuff is 99.5% likely to be something called "sediment."

Sometimes wines form or "throw" sediment in the bottle. This stuff is completely inert crystals of various types of acids and minerals that naturally occur in wines. They are most often found in red wines, and tend to accumulate as a wine ages, but they can also be found in whites like your Chenin Blanc.

Most big commercial winemakers know that this sort of thing freaks out consumers, so they use processes called filtering and fining to try and prevent this sort of thing. But these processes also strip wines of some of their character.

You'll find that most serious wine geeks actually appreciate sediment or cloudiness in their wines as a sign that they have not been put through these sorts of processes.

There are some situations in which a wine can spoil and create sediment, but those cases are rare, and trust me, you'd be able to tell the minute you put some of it in your mouth. The fact that you got through this bottle without wanting to barf means that you've just happened upon a bottle with some crystals in it.

It is well within your rights as a consumer to bring that bottle back to where you purchased it and get another if you are disappointed or grossed out, but frankly, I suspect there's nothing wrong with the wine.

If you encounter this sort of stuff in your wine in the future you can deal with it in several ways. The first is to pour carefully when filling glasses and the crystals will remain in the shoulder of the bottle since they are heavier than the wine. This will mean leaving a little bit of wine in the bottle at the end. Alternatively you can pour carefully into a decanter or carafe in the same way, and then serve the wine out of the carafe for the rest of the evening. Finally, the other thing you can do is filter the wine through a coffee filter or a plain white paper towel.

Hope that helps !

Larry Chandler wrote:
02.20.06 at 8:04 PM

Sounds like tartrate crystals. A white wine that looks like it has shards of glass in it probably wasn't cold stabilized which would get rid of those crystals. Don't worry about it. The wine is fine.

Steve wrote:
02.21.06 at 6:43 AM

I agree - tartrates. This is because 1) it is white and probably not very old and 2) a company like Beringer is 99.9% likely to sterile filter this wine. Both of these reasons would point to tartrates over any other type of sediment. My guess is that they did try to cold stabilize it, but failed on this particular batch for one reason or another. Probably, they were trying to keep up with a production schedule and didn't leave the tank on cold long enough to finish the job. Anyway, it's harmless as Larry mentioned.

Doug wrote:
02.21.06 at 8:25 AM

Thom - did you place the wine in the freezer prior to opening?

On the POD, I've been shaking my head ever since.

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