Which one is the farthest product from a natural wine? Synthetic wine…without even a bit of grape, of course!
We talked in the past about which one is the difference between organic and biodynamic wine and the usual one, but we didn’t dare thinking of a complete synthetic one; now it seems impossible, but someone created it: we are talking about the American startup Ava Wine, which purpose is to give everyone the possibility to taste a good, expensive wine for cheap.
An expensive wine for cheap
It was 2015 when Alec Lee, co-founder of Ava Wine, found himself in a restaurant in San Francisco; in the display window there was a bottle of 1973 Chateau Montelena: with a $10,000 price, it was impossible for him, or any other average people, to taste a glass of it. There, Lee had the idea for a synthetic wine made with all the components of the original, expensive wine, but for cheap, still resulting as close as possible to the original bottle.
Alec Lee founded the startup Ava Wine together with Mardonn Chua and, with the collaboration of two biotechnologists and a sommelier, the company worked no less than two years researching and developing a way to recreate the most famous wines, “molecule by molecule”, component by component.
Their wine is the farthest product from natural wine in commerce: it doesn’t contain any grapes and it is totally made in a laboratory; not even a second is passed in a vineyard or a cellar, and a sommelier tastes all the wine produced to assure its taste.
And what about the taste?
At the moment, however, Ava Wine’s synthetic bottles are kind of far from reaching the taste of a traditional wine: this is a video capturing a tasting of their version of a Moscato d’Asti versus the original; you can see that the competition was not even there.
Lee says that one day Ava Wine’s products will be entirely able to reach the standards of the best wines on the market: they will taste the same and smell the same, and it will be difficult to feel the difference.
Our opinion? We think that in a period where people are finally demanding healthy, natural wines and the recovering of traditions and culture, a simple glass of chemically obtained wine has not the same value. Also, we believe that there is an ethical matter as well in all this story: Ava Wine plans to recreate in the future some famous traditional wines, that are trademarks and, as we already know, are part of the traditions and culture of that certain territory and land; Lee says that there’s no way for the producers to stop his plans, since there is no ownership on the molecular profile, and anyway no one will trick consumers thinking that they’re buying the real wine.
We think that there is a big, good reason if the natural wine revolution started: all together we want to demand the return of true, traditional healthy products; operations like this one will only remain, we hope, a tidbit in the history of winemaking.