Can an Ultrasound Make Better Wine?

We are all aware that an ultrasound is a life-saving piece of medical equipment, but is it possible that it may also hold the secret to better wine?

Medical Use is Very Familiar

An ultrasound is an integral part of any medical professional’s toolkit and aids in diagnosing a large variety of conditions. The ultrasound does this by emitting sound waves (undetectable by the human ear) through the tissue of the body via a transducer.

The echoes are transmitted as the sound waves bounce off the tissue in the body and the data is then used to produce an image. Today’s high-resolution ultrasound machines can produce an image of amazing quality.

But for Wine Making?

Though ultrasound has been used successfully in other food making processes, in winemaking it had really only ever been used to clean barrels.

As far back as 1963 there have been experiments done trying to apply ultrasound technology to improve wine grape processing, but with limited results. But now, a Castile-La Mancha based wine product distributor is testing the theory that ultrasonic pulses can be used to both save the winemaker time, and to generate more from the grapes themselves. If true, this can be a new boon to both the winemaking and ultrasound markets.

Storing the grapes in a large container, the winemaker will subject the grapes to a large amount of low-frequency sound. This technique is used as a portion of the grape crushing called maceration, when tannins and enzymes appear from the grape skins.

The idea is that the sound will create gas bubbles that eventually break down the grape skin and extract the desired chemical components. They hope this process will affect not only wine production time and reduce material waste, but will also improve both color and taste as well.