Around The Home

Sonic Decanter: An (ultra)sound way to improve wine quality

The Sonic Decanter is designed to improve the flavor, mouthfeel and aroma of wine in 20 minutes or less
The Sonic Decanter is designed to improve the flavor, mouthfeel and aroma of wine in 20 minutes or less
View 12 Images
The Sonic Decanter's simple user process
1/12
The Sonic Decanter's simple user process
The Sonic Decanter is designed to improve the flavor, mouthfeel and aroma of wine in 20 minutes or less
2/12
The Sonic Decanter is designed to improve the flavor, mouthfeel and aroma of wine in 20 minutes or less
Steps involved in using the Sonic Decanter
3/12
Steps involved in using the Sonic Decanter
The device is Bluetooth-enabled and controlled via smartphone app
4/12
The device is Bluetooth-enabled and controlled via smartphone app
The product comes in black or white
5/12
The product comes in black or white
The Sonic Decanter's successful Kickstarter campaign
6/12
The Sonic Decanter's successful Kickstarter campaign
Elegant design of the Sonic Decanter, improves wine by accelerating the aging process
7/12
Elegant design of the Sonic Decanter, improves wine by accelerating the aging process
The Sonic Decanter uses ultrasound to break down preservatives in wine
8/12
The Sonic Decanter uses ultrasound to break down preservatives in wine
9/12
The Sonic Decanter transforms the molecular and chemical structure of wine
10/12
The Sonic Decanter transforms the molecular and chemical structure of wine
The Sonic Decanter accelerates the aging process of wine from years to minutes
11/12
The Sonic Decanter accelerates the aging process of wine from years to minutes
DTC CEO Mike Coyne explains the properties of the Sonic Decanter
12/12
DTC CEO Mike Coyne explains the properties of the Sonic Decanter

That bargain plonk ordinaire that passes as merely drinkable may soon get featured status at your next party. A startup out of Spokane, Washington, has unveiled its Sonic Decanter designed to improve the flavor, mouthfeel and aroma of wine in 20 minutes or less by using high frequency sound waves to break down preservatives, such as sulfur dioxide, transform the molecular and chemical structure of wine, and accelerate the aging process.

While these may sound like claims you might expect to hear on a late night infomercial, Michael Coyne, CEO of Dionysus Technology Concepts Inc, (DTC) – named after the Greek god of wine – says the technology is fairly basic, and has been used in the food and other industries at least since he first learned of it in 1983 while working at PepsiCo.

“The effects of ultrasonic energy on liquids are very well known and have been used in water treatment, biofuels and in the food industry to help homogenize milk and other products," he says. "They just hadn’t been applied to wine.” (For the record, ultrasound is used in biofuel production to break down plant material, enhancing the chemical reactions necessary for conversion to fuel.)

DTC CEO Mike Coyne explains the properties of the Sonic Decanter
DTC CEO Mike Coyne explains the properties of the Sonic Decanter

While ultrasonic frequencies start at 20 kHz, Coyne says the Sonic Decanter operates near the 40 kHz range using a proprietary frequency delivery method. These sound waves traveling through the liquid are claimed to change the chemical structure and micro-homogenize the components of the wine, breaking down the molecular structure and recombining them in beneficial ways. At the same time, many of the dissolved gases in the wine are released to create new chemical bonds. It’s a similar process to bottle aging, minus the 10 years or so.

The steps for Sonic Decanter users are as simple as unpacking the product, filling it with 16 oz (470 ml) of cold water, inserting the bottle of wine and pressing one of two buttons for red or white. Ten to 25 minutes later, according to user preference, the wine is ready for enhanced, pucker-free drinking.

And while it may not turn jug wine into Chateau Latour, the process is claimed to improve the quality in several ways. It softens tannins that are typically higher in young wines for better mouthfeel, and produces aromas usually only present in aged or quality wines (i.e, the nose). Flavors are also enhanced, while Coyne says pigmentation can be visibly altered, leading to more golden chardonnays and rubier rosés.

The Sonic Decanter process works better on red wines, which have more chemical components and more complex molecular structure than whites. And it works best on full-bodied dark reds, such as cabernet sauvignon, shiraz or Bordeaux, and even ports. For white wines, the process works best on chardonnay, with less improvement on light-bodied varietals, such as Chablis.

Unlike low-tech glass decanters that work by exposing wine to air, the Sonic Decanter removes wine-degrading oxygen, and extends an open bottle’s shelf life to days instead of hours. Another advantage of the Sonic Decanter is its Bluetooth-enabled smartphone app for iOS and Android. The app allows the user to choose red or white, and set a time between 10 and 25 minutes. It also signals when the wine is ready to go.

The company’s recently completed Kickstarter campaign easily surpassed the US$85,000 goal, allowing for the initial wave of production. If all goes well, the first decanters are slated to ship in May of 2015. The asking price for the Sonic Decanter is $249, though a pre-order special is currently offering the device for $169. And while Sonic Decanter prototypes were made with 3D printers, the product will be built using standard consumer appliance manufacturing methods.

The crowdfunding pitch video below gives an overview of the Sonic Decanter.

Source: Sonic Decanter

9 comments
Wb
It is not true, that the method is new. It was already described and used (probably also commercially) more than 60 years ago. There are many books, describing this. I would assume, that it is also used today at some places.
Stuart Wilshaw
Another gizmo to take its place among all those other gizmos you just had to have and now never use.
zippyflounder
Something must be new, they got a new patent and according to the USPTO one of the conditions for a patent is "new and not obvious". Here it is if you want to read it, I did and it was fascinating, check out the discussion on prior art. http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sect2=HITOFF&p=1&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsearch-bool.html&r=1&f=G&l=50&co1=AND&d=PTXT&s1=Leonhardt.INNM.&s2=ultrasonic.ABTX.&OS=IN/Leonhardt+AND+ABST/ultrasonic&RS=IN/Leonhardt+AND+ABST/ultrasonic
windykites
Sorry, but this sounds like a load of hog-wash. I would like to see a blind tasting by the inventor, to see if he could tell the difference between treated and un-treated samples. If it really worked, manufacturers could use it to improve their product. What does one do when one lets a wine 'breathe'? You are exposing it to oxygen. Is this good or bad? The gadget is very expensive. Why not spend the money on better wine?
Clider
First of all, the USPTO does NOT spend inordinate amounts of time researching whether or not a patent is obvious. Patent applications are intentionally left so confusing that how could any of the people working for the USPTO possibly know whether something was obvious or not? There job is to research the application and see if it interferes with any previous patents. I could dispute their patent right now and if I felt like it and could afford it, take them to court... a Markman hearing, overseen by a judge, is the end-all-do-all to whether or not a patent is valid... ...that is until the defendant takes their case to the CAFC (court of appeals). The appeals court isn't supposed to overturn a lower courts decision, but since Alice corp v CLS was presided over this year by a district court, more and more appeals courts are actually overturning a lower court (and jury, see Vringo vs Google) ruling - which is against the law, but I digress. Secondly. The person who invented this is not the company that is selling it. They licensed it from the inventor. Thirdly. The technology isn't anything new. Ever taken your jewelry to be cleaned? Same concept.
zippyflounder
new or old, seems to work according to the sommelier the London times used http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/life/food/article4275106.ece as well as the folk over at yahoo tech https://www.yahoo.com/tech/this-decanter-uses-sound-waves-to-make-your-wine-taste-100698994094.html and another tester at gizmoto http://gizmodo.com/tag/sonic-decanter...hey I am cool with "old" tech, as long as it works.
Wb
See please here: http://m.ajevonline.org/content/14/1/23.abstract This wad writer 1963.
DoctorNo
Chardonnay is a grape varietal. Chablis is a region of France. All Chablis is made from Chardonnay grapes. Would love to know the effect of ultrasound on sulfur compounds in wines ( specifically hydrogen sulfide and mercaptans) btw, and how secondary aromas are produced by it. Sounds like a load of BS. And I'd really love to know how it eliminates oxygen as well. This must truly be a magic product!
DaleHuffman
I received my Sonic Decanter as a Christmas present. I used it 4 times and then it stopped working. If you look at their website they do not provide an avenue to speak with customer service except for an email address of info@sonicdecanter.com where you will get no response. I even tried posting a message on their Facebook page and still no one had the courtesy to get back in touch with me. This is unfortunate because the product does work and I really miss it; just wish it had lasted longer than a week.