Before the grapes turn into wine on your table, there must be many actions that together define the wine industry. Here we shed light on only a small fraction of its secrets.
1. Digital observation in the vineyards
Some premium estates in Bordeaux and Napa today resemble an army base or a high-tech factory. Unmanned aerial vehicles are circling above them, optical scanners and thermal images for observation are stuck around. They collect the data that winemakers need to determine the optimal harvest time and assess the condition of the soil. Of course, such technical devices are not cheap, and not all manufacturers can afford them.
2. Bio dynamic production method
The bio dynamic method has become an organic alternative to chemicals that can effectively combat plant diseases and improve soil acidity. The basis of this method is the natural preparation of organic fertilizers, excluding any inorganic additives. Even the care of vineyards takes place on the basis of natural cycles, such as, for example, the phases of the moon.
3. Mustard – a powerful pesticide
Between the rows of vineyards, winemakers plant mustard or radish flowers. Not for aesthetics, of course, but because the glucosinolates contained in them are powerful pesticides. Farmers use them to fight nematodes, tiny worms that threaten the grape harvest.
4. Roses on guard of the vineyard
Some winemakers grow roses in their vineyards. And they do it not to impress women walking between the rows. If powdery mildew appears in the air (a fungal disease of plants), then it first strikes a rose flower, which warns the winemaker of the need to spray the drug to combat it.
5. Falcons for pest control
Small birds such as warlock or starlings are a serious threat to vineyards, sometimes destroying up to 20% of the crop. Therefore, winemakers resort to the help of other birds, but more. Falcons, for example, have proven themselves in the fight with small birds and rodents. Therefore, they are often used in vineyards in California or New Zealand.
6. Plant jug
Another original way to control pests, and it is also completely natural. Some winemakers for the destruction of fruit flies or other harmful insects do not use the usual pesticides, and grow in their vineyards, pitchers or other insectivorous plants. This is perhaps not only an effective, but also the most aesthetic way to combat parasites.
7. Natural wine cleaners
While filtering wine, the filter is not able to extract all the excess sediment. To do this, manufacturers add to the drink “finishing agents” and other substances that clean the liquid. Until the 90s of the last century in Europe, powdered blood was used for this, but later it was replaced by more technological means. Today, many winemakers purify wine using diatomaceous earth (fossilized algae with a hard shell), collagen from fish swimming bubbles, and sometimes using bentonite (volcanic clay). Irish moss and egg white are also excellent organic wine cleaners.
8. Radioisotope dating
Very often, for a premium wine issued cheap fake, poured in the basement. At the same time, it is not always possible at first glance to distinguish a bottle of an authentic drink from its pirated copy. Elite sommeliers, wine brokers or meticulous collectors sometimes use radioisotope dating to detect fraud. By measuring traces of radioactive carbon in wine, you can determine the approximate age of the drink.
9. MRI technology
Even radioisotope dating cannot save you from buying spoiled expensive wine. A drink may become unusable over time simply due to improper storage. Back in 2002, a professor of chemistry at the University of California, patented a method that uses MRI technology to diagnose the state of vintage wines. Thus it was possible to determine the preserved quality of the drink.
10. Instant aging
Chinese scientists have developed a way that can turn cheap wine to taste in expensive. Yes, we know what you thought: the Chinese even got to the wine. The interaction of a young drink with electricity makes its taste more saturated, as if it had lain in the cellar for more than a dozen years. Scientists cannot fully explain why this happens, but a three-minute immersion of wine in an electric field affects its esters, proteins and formaldehyde and leads to an instant “aging” of the drink.