The Last of the Substandard Wine: Wine innovation Vino Cap

Two Australians have invented a way to make bad wine good (or at least less bad).

If you could magically transform your slightly sub-standard savvy into a sensationally citrussy savvy, to pair with your grilled chook, you certainly would. Vino Cap from innovation group Vinnovate have made this magic a reality.

Barossa Valley brothers, Simon and Joshua Schmidt are behind the innovation that recently took top honours at the winexplorer challenge.

The pair formed Vinnovate in 2012 with the aim to positively change how people enjoy wine. Their winning innovation, Vino Cap, marks a huge moment in their journey to drive this change.

The product is a simple screw cap closure with some nifty tricks up its metallic sleeve. A built-in flavour chamber, that is manually activated by the wine drinker, adds flavours and aromas to the wine or reduces preservatives like sulphites.

Patrick Materman, Brancott Estate chief winemaker and one of the judges said, “I was intrigued by this idea as soon as I saw it, and after hearing Joshua and Simon pitch, I could immediately see the potential. We see this as a way to help people explore different flavours, aromas, and textures in their wine to enhance the wine-drinking occasion.

The pair beat four other finalists that included a cellar management system; an online self-directed wine tasting adventure; a wirelessly integrated stopper to track wine quality in open bottles, and a personalised wine tourism app.

New Zealander Scott Williamson was amongst the finalists with his home-based wine tasting idea. The catalyst for the innovation was realising that it was difficult for people to go to wine tastings and be fully engaged.

“They were put off by the elitist, snooty, difficult to get your head around wine tastings,” he said.

Williamson described the idea as, “We’ll courier the wines to you; you’ll open the box; it’ll be all set up with the static content to read; and there’ll be a little slot for your smart device to sit so you can go online and see an expert take you through an educational experience on the wine. Sort of like a wine club that comes by mail.”

Vinnovate and the other finalists aren’t the only mad-scientists and big thinkers in the world of wine right now. Replica Wine, part of Colorado-based Integrated Beverages Group, are creating near-identical knockoffs of beautiful – and largely unaffordable – wines. The process is heavily scientific with over 2,000 wines and 60 taste and aroma markers being analysed.

After a couple thousand years since that guy turned water to wine, it looks like we might be on our way to mastering it once again. Science, eh.