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The Mainichi Newspaper reports on a new sonic decanter said to produce ageing effects in wine, whisky and sake after just a few minutes.

On sale in Japan from 18 December 2017, the “wine time machine” is available in black and white from one online retailer and costs JPY 34,800 (including tax). It should be available at other retailers from spring 2018.

Using the device is said to give wine and whisky the mellow notes that come with ageing. The product was funded to 600% on the Japanese crowdfunding site Makuake in 2016, but the makers were unable to keep up with overseas demand so it has only just become available in Japan. 

Taking the opposite approach to traditional decanting, which involves oxidation by contact with air, the decanter vibrates liquid with ultrasound to create tiny bubbles. This agitates the wine, and acts to remove acidity. This produces remarkable improvements in the aroma, mouthfeel and flavour of wine in just 20 minutes, without causing any deterioration.

More specifically, it has been shown to reduce four quantifiable aspects of the wine:

  • pH
  • sulphur dioxide, used as a preservative
  • anthocynanins
  •  volatile acids

The makers also claim it mellows tannins and improves the chemical structure of anthocyanins, esters and polyphenols. 

The decanter can also be used for other alcoholic drinks, for example to round out sharp tastes in whisky as happens during maturation. It gives sake a smoother mouthfeel, and changes stiff sake that are hard to drink unless heated into ones that can be enjoyed chilled.

The unit is simple to operate, just fill it with cold water and press the red or white wine button. Red wine is agitated for 20 minutes, white for 15. The timer can be set between 5 and 20 minutes for whisky or sake. For those who want to try before buying such an expensive piece of equipment, it is in use in two Tokyo bars.