Wine has been around as a consumable beverage for 8,000 years. There is no sign that its production has slowed. In fact, more wines are being produced today than any time in history. From large wineries and distributors to the homemade varieties, wine has been a pleasurable experience in complimenting meals and used in festive occasions throughout the world. The types and varieties of wine seem to be endless as well as the location for growing the crops to produce it. Wines are even made from vegetables, flowers and fruits. The technology and research has changed, along with the research and development of wine making. Today there are many new inventions and innovations to be found and explored for anyone serious about the wine-making industry. Here are some of the latest inventions to impact the industry.
Strides in wine fermentation have made the process much more scientific than in the past. It's been discovered that adding oxygen during stages of the fermentation process can enhance the flavor of wine. The process is called MicroOX for short, and simply means that oxygen is added to the wine to improve its flavor by softening the harsh tannins. It also works to improve the flavor when the crop has produced substandard grapes. It involves the gradual process of adding oxygen at different levels of fermentation and then tasting the results until a likeable flavor and consistency is found. The process can last for months, but frequent taste-testing allows analysis to determine when to stop the oxygen induction. Since oxygen enters the natural oak barrels or via a cork in a bottle anyway, which negatively impacts the taste, MicroOX can actually determine the taste during the process and not afterward when it can be too late.
Wine Labels with Personality
Although wine labels will never be associated with promoting ground-breaking wine production or break records for green technology, they do have a direct impact on the wine-consuming public. No longer are wine-makers obsessed with describing wine as an elegant or stately drink for refined palates, but now they are in tune with making the wine-drinking experience an enjoyable and fun activity by packaging it with quirky and zany labels. The graphics now include themes with bold, funny or cultural statements, enticing the consumer to dare and try the product. This less formal approach has increased wine sales, such as a study in 2006 revealed when it found that labels featuring adorable animals outsold generic labels by a factor of two to one!
The Box Revolution
Boxed wine first appeared in the 1950s, but it did not take off until the '80s as a replacement for the bottle and jug. The revolution began in the 2000s when wine makers began putting their premium label wines in boxes. Today the trend is accelerating due to emphasis on improving the environment. Wine in boxes decreases the shipping weight, cutting down on transportation costs as well as using an organic material that can be recycled. There is no taste difference between the boxed and bottled varieties, with a slight edge going to the boxed wines because they keep oxygen out of container which keeps the wine fresher for longer periods.
Wine on Tap
Wine on tap is a psychological marketing ploy to remove the intimidation that wine is a specialty beverage meant for highbrow occasions. Bars and restaurants are now serving wine on tap to entice potential customers into giving it a try. Some wine bars have offered self-serve counters. Customers pay for a wine ticket and then swipe it at a desirable tap to get a pour. What's more, is that the wine taps offer sample sizes in the 1 to 2 ounce serving size so the wine can be sampled before a full glass is bought. A customer can indulge in a small wine-tasting event and find their perfect flavor for future visits. Wine on tap has positive environmental benefits. There is less waste since the tap keeps the wine fresher by excluding oxygen which also allows it to last longer. Tap wine provides around a 25 percent savings in commercial purchases for restaurants and bars. It also negates the use of packaging, reducing the cost of shipping.
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