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Science Creates Wine That Doesn’t Need Grapes. Thousands Cheer.

“I cook with wine. Sometimes I even add it to the food.” — W. C. Fields

Scientists have been synthesizing food flavorings for a long time now, and it’s all around us. From the popcorn flavor in some snack foods (methyl-2-peridylketone) to the very banana-ish flavor of a commercially-produced banana muffin (isoamyl acetate), our modern lives are filled with tastes perfected in the laboratory.

So it was only a matter of time before someone synthesized the taste of … fermented grapes. Suddenly, wines that previously sold for $200 or $300 a bottle could be tasted by us common folk, for a lot less ding to the pocketbook. 

Ava Winery in San Francisco has created just such a thing. Beginning with a Moscato D’Asti brew, and now a Dom Perignon variety, they’re trying hard to replicate some high-demand, big-ticket wines and champagnes in the laboratory – no vineyards or fermentation process needed. 

Here’s the graphic, from New Scientist, that pretty simply explains it:

They might get there — at least, “there” enough for most people. The wine snobs who absolutely abhor this idea might never sign on, but for most of us common people, it could be a big hit. 

Here’s a taste test video by the wonderful folks at New Scientist of an early iteration of the Moscato creation. It’s since been improved dramatically (especially that problem with the “nose” being plastic-y), according to the makers.

So tell us, in the comments — is this a Very Good Thing for humanity, or a scourge upon our palates?


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