A NEW invention that lowers the alcohol content of wine by 30% has been unveiled just in time for Christmas.
The machine is the brainchild of El Bulli-trained chemist Pere Castells, now of the start-up Alacarte.
His device can turn a 14% alcohol bottle into an 8% bottle in just five minutes – without compromising on taste.
Bars and restaurants are the main market for the first 1,000 units of the €3,000 machine, which Castells eventually intends to sell to the public.
The inventor, who worked with El Bulli owner Ferran Adria for 10 years, unveiled his contraption at the BBVA Bilbao Food Capital event.
The machine’s dealcoholization process is actually similar to dialysis, and also uses the same technology as the rotary cone column, the contraption originally invented to make decaffeinated coffee.
Inside the machine, a thin membrane separates a water tank from the wine.
Both liquids are spun around, causing alcohol to be sucked into the water, with more rotations leading to less alcohol.
The machine can half the alcohol content in a bottle of wine in 10 minutes and even reduce it to zero.
“We have realised that when you take out the alcohol you ‘undress’ the wine, and if it has deficiencies it shows more,” said Castells.
“Wrongly constructed wines do not work with zero alcohol.”