Water into wine

I’ve always said, we’ve got Mr. Coffeemaker and Mr. Breadmaker. Why not a Mr. Vodkamaker? Well we’ll have to wait a bit for that, but there is a Mr. Winemaker! About time. For $2 in ingredients, you get wine that tastes like a $20 bottle.

What do you think?

The Miracle Machine sounds a bit pretentious. They should call it the Jesus Machine.

Pshaw. The only piece of equipment you really need to make decent wine is a 5-gallon bucket. A hydrometer and some plastic tubing comes in handy, but isn’t absolutely necessary. Decent wine kits at your LHBS will come out to around $2-4 per bottle.

I have a hard time accepting that they can produce good wine from just grape juice concentrate, water, and yeast in only a few days, no matter what technological tricks they use: warm, fast fermentation typically produces a lot of off flavors.

My guess is that the “grape juice and yeast” step is basically grape juice concentrate along with some sucrose or dextrose combined with a champagne or turbo yeast to produce the desired alcohol, and the final “sachet of ingredients” is basically a mixture of flavorings and “instant wine,” produced using a process similar to instant coffee, to make it taste good. The fact that it can’t be stored beyond 7-10 days because it’s “bottled under air, not an inert gas” raises my eyebrows. ALL wine is bottled under air.

The thing is, producing really good wine at home is downright easy. The equipment (basically, a couple of 6-gallon buckets, a corker, some plastic tubing, an airlock, and a few other odds and ends) will run you ~$100 at your LHBS, and a kit with enough grape juice, yeast, and preservative to make 30 bottles of wine will run $60-120. Aside from bottling, making a batch involves about 45 minutes of actual work spread out over a month or two.

The FAQ section says it costs about $2 a bottle, but they plan on creating a low cost monthly plan for under $10 that will give you enough to make a bottle a week.

Either they have more weeks/month than I’m used to, or that might not be a great deal.

Still, looks like it could be fun.

Kit shmit.

My Sicilian Grandfather bought 20 or 30 cases of wine grapes, mashed ‘em in a bunch of 5 gallon buckets, threw some stale bread, covered em’ with tarp and let it all sit for a month or so and bottled it.

Bingo! FOB Immigrant table wine! :smiley:

Some years it was actually drinkable :wink:

I’ve seen friends’ home wine & beer making setups and they can take up a bit of space, usually in the basement or someplace. I’ve also tasted some homemade wine & beer and its quality can really vary.

A sleek countertop jobber that produces predictable results without a lot of guesswork is attractive.

OT: Is wine carbonated?

Grin! I once got a gallon of raw apple juice. Over time, in my fridge, it started to turn. For a couple of days it was really, really yummy “apple beer.” The next day it was just vinegar!

I also once had a plastic bottle full of natural grapefruit juice that started to turn. Now, you might think, “Grapefruit beer? Puke!” But it was actually remarkably good. Just a bit of fizz, and just a bit of alcohol. Sort of like a Grapefruit “Screwdriver.”

Not normally (or at any rate not intentionally, I’ve made some that was by accident). Although the fermentation produces carbon dioxide, this is allowed to escape and the wine isn’t bottled until it finishes, because you don’t want yeast sediment in your bottled win. Deliberately making carbonated wine was formerly an involved process in order to get the yeast out of the bottle while keeping the carbon dioxide in. It’s an interesting read if you’re so minded.

Many years ago when I working as a psychiatric nurse one of the other nurses did this. In order to convince the patients to bend to his will he told them that he was Jesus Christ. As proof he passed his hand over a glass of water and turned it into wine.

Well not really, he turned it into a glass of water with potassium permanganate sprinkled in it. However, he assures me that it achieved exactly what he was after.

I have to disagree. In my experience, people who say it is easy to produce really good wine are either overly modest about their skills or have…less refined taste in wine. Yes, it’s easy to make wine - crush the grapes, throw in the yeast, and let it do its thing. But you’ll be lucky to compete with Two-Buck Chuck with this approach - some batches will be OK or even pretty damn good, and others will be undrinkable.

Making really good wine requires knowledge of sugar and acid levels (and how to adjust them), proper yeast nutrition, temperature control, malolactic fermentation, and a host of other things. Starting with a kit simplifies some of this, but you can’t get the nuances of a truly good bottle of wine from a concentrate.

Going back to the OP’s offhand comment about Mr. Vodka, a Brita filter can supposedly turn bad vodka into good vodka. That makes vodka for certain definitions of “make”.

My current mead brewing occupies a few square feet in my laundry room–just enough space for the carboy to sit on the floor. A second carboy (for racking) and some miscellaneous bits of equipment and supplies occupy about the same amount of space in a closet. A minimalist brewing setup takes very little room; your friends were probably doing the hobbyist thing where the hobby takes over as much space as it’s allowed.

Tch. I’ve made wine from Coca-cola. (Or something alcoholic, anyway. We called it “the Druncola”. It wasn’t bad, though oddly, I’ve never gotten it to carbonate properly.)

And this doesn’t even address how vitis vinifera grapes gain expression (terroir) from the vineyard, which cannot be replicated any other way. And then there’s the matter of aging in oak (not that all wines need or receive that) and any other manner of tweaks that good vintners employ to turn out consistently good product.

In case anyone missed it, the machine in the OP turned out to be a hoax. It was just a headline-grabbing ad campaign to raise awareness for locations in the world with poor water quality.