9 Jul 2016

Lab made wine

From This Way Up, 1:30 pm on 9 July 2016
Making synthetic wine in the lab

Making synthetic wine in the lab Photo: (Ava Winery)

Wine making is traditionally viewed as part art and part science, a craft based on terroir and fruit quality, and a tribute to a wine-maker's nose, skill and taste. But could the art of oenology be reduced to a synthetic process undertaken in a lab?

Alec Lee of Ava Winery thinks so. He's making artificial 'wine' with not a grape in sight, turning water into something that tastes like wine in 15 minutes by combining H2O with some flavour compounds and ethanol.

The idea really took off on a visit to winery in California last year, when Mr Lee's co-founder saw a bottle of 1973 Chateau Montelena. That's a famed chardonnay that put Napa Valley and New World wines on the map when it won a prestigious wine competition in France in 1976.

Mr Lee wants to expose a new generation of younger wine drinkers to taste experiences they wouldn't otherwise be able to afford.

"We believe foods of the future will be designed the way clothing is designed and printed with the ease that we print on paper today. " Alec Lee, Ava Winery