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Good wine is expensive, but a couple of Napa Valley veterans want to change that. They believe it is possible for consumers to make their own high-quality wines in just a few days, for less than $2 or $3 per bottle. And they have a product to prove it.
The Miracle Machine is a composite fermentation chamber, mixer, and app-enabled microcontroller that quite literally turns water into wine—or so its creators say. Founders Kevin Boyer and Philip James have dozens of years of experience as sommeliers and wine directors, and have employed some serious tech chops to produce a product that is both simple and technologically clever.
Here’s how it works: Users select a recipe from the Miracle Machine app, then spend a few dollars on the necessary ingredients: grape concentrate, yeast, and whatever extras the recipe calls for. These can be bought through Amazon, a local homebrew store, or, eventually, the Miracle Machine website.
Next, the ingredients are mixed with water and tossed directly into the Miracle Machine. Turn it on, and the fermentation process begins. Updates as to the progress of the wine are delivered directly to the Miracle Machine app, which runs on iOS or Android, and a final “sachet of finishing powder” is added as a final step, to impart barrel-aged flavors.
Equipped with an array of electrical sensors, transducers, heaters and pumps, the Miracle Machine is able to detect when fermentation has completed, and when the wine has reached the right age for drinking. All in all, the company claims on its site, the process takes a mere two or three days.
You have to wonder, though: How good can a two-day-old wine processed with grape concentrate and imitation flavors really be?
We’ll just have to wait and see. The Miracle Machine is still in the prototype phase, and a Kickstarter campaign is set to launch in a few days.
One can only hope that individuals with as much winemaking and tasting experience as Boyer and James wouldn't compromise too much on quality in the pursuit of a cheap alternative. Then again, there’s a reason Charles Shaw and Franzia sell so well.