Math and Wine!

When I graduated from high school or university for that matter I thought that I had left math and science behind forever.  Can you imagine the irony of such thinking,  because as a winery owner and inventor, lab work, tolerances, physics and the like have all come back to bite me.  Take a look at the graphic image printed on our QikVin bottle depicted on the right-hand side of this blog page, for example,  a graduated vine broke down into ml and oz.  Who would have imagined the effort to calculate the oxidation of wine due to the volume of wine or the properties of glass or plastic in the wine breathing process?

As a winery owner, I had a small lab, but as one of the patent owners of the QikVin, I soon realized that I had to go back to school.  I needed organic chemistry helpful to understand basic oxidation.  Parts per million and parts per billion of SO2 and other compounds would require more complex strategies for our QikVin.  Math, chemistry, and physics is not only needed for one’s own product but there are also the claims of your competitors.  So here are some questions worth asking:

  1.  Do pumps really remove air from a bottle and what percentage of the volume of gas or vacuum do they effectively control?  When the pressure of the vacuum increases within a pumped wine bottle do the wines actually release gasses and oxygen into a vacuum-sealed bottle?  Does a pump effectively preserve wines less effectively than a simple cork placed back into a bottle as some studies suggest?
  2. Do gasses like Argon and Nitrogen really blanket a wine in the bottle?  If so, why use the word blanket?  Most university students know that the earth has a significant amount of Nitrogen. Fewer know that the earth’s atmosphere is 2.7% Argon.  Given the blanket analogy could we breathe if the Argon (heavier than air) really blanketed the earth?  Fact: fiction and marketing sometimes have little to do with one another.  Since we cannot see gasses how do we effectively control the gas in an opened bottle of wine?  Do we use light to indicate an oxygen-free environment? If we use oxygen absorbing chemicals, and, if so, which ones?
  3. What area within the bottle itself once opened is exposed to air?   Due to the tapper in the bottle’s neck, we maintain about 1/2 of a square inch is in contact with air.  Once one glass of wine is consumed, 7 square inches of wine is exposed to the air.  If you have a wine bottle or carafe that allows air back into the bottle while pouring, then your bottle allows a humongous amount of air to touch the wine, 21 square inches.  The QikVin by comparison allows no air to touch the wine in storage or in pouring!  That is a big deal when talking about wine!

At QikVin, we want to be transparent!  Our bottle is deceptively low tech but amazingly high science!  If seeing is believing, you can watch the piston push the air out of the bottle through a one-way valve.  You can see even the smallest amount of air leave the bottle never to return.  In white wine, it is even clearer or easier to see.   The vacuum is easy to see too!  The piston remains suspended in the air because the vacuum keeps it suspended in the bottle against the gravity pulling down on the piston.

The days of math, science, and physics I thought were long gone!  In fact, my journey was a winery owner and QikVin inventor has lead me to view the world of wine differently.  There is never a dull moment when it comes to the science of wine!  Bottoms Up!

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