We all know that ageing a bottle of wine is often an important step to take if you want to get the most out of it.
Most Italian red wines can benefit from a few months, or even a few years, left down in the cellars. Many producers even age their wines for a couple of years in-house, long before they ever release them for commercial consumption.
There are all sorts of reasons for this. But the main one boils down to what is essentially the chemical composition of the wine. Ageing gives all of the chemical components in the wine the time they need to create the perfect blend for that particular wine.
And there’s one immortal truth about ageing your wine.
You have to wait. Sometimes, you have to wait for several years.
This can feel like torture when you have a bottle that you really want to try. You know that you need to give it some more time to help it to reach its maximum potential. But you want to drink it now!
Eventually, you give into the temptation and crack open the bottle. We’re sure that it’ll taste great. But you’ll always have that nagging feeling.
Would it have been even better if you’d allowed it to age for longer?
You’ll never know unless you buy the wine again and age it. And then you face the same issues with temptation.
There may be an answer to this conundrum – magnets.
Magnets Can Age Wine?
You heard us correctly. There are several manufacturers out there who create special wine magnets that reportedly have the ability to age a bottle of wine in a matter of minutes.
They’re not shy about making bold claims either. Some of them claim that their wine magnets can have the same effect on a bottle of wine in the space of an hour that ageing has over the course of several years.
Here’s the idea behind it.
You surround your bottle of wine with a bunch of magnets. The manufacturers of special wine magnets make this easy on you.
The idea is that you surround the wine with a magnetic field. This field then penetrates the bottle without breaking it. There’s no oxygen or chemicals getting into the wine. Just the magnetic field that your magnets create.
The idea is that this field gets deep into the centre of the wine and has a drastic effect on the tannins.
This is important because its young tannins that often lend young wines a bitter taste that can make them unpalatable.
The magnetic field is supposed to soften the tannins over the course of an hour or less. Then, you just have to open the bottle and enjoy the wine.
It sounds almost magical. And that’s probably what a few scientists thought too.
Such drastic claims are always going to come under a lot of scepticism. After all, those familiar with certain aspects of the healing community will know that many people claim that magnets can cure all sorts of ills.
But when it comes to wine, the real question is whether or not that affect a wine’s taste.
Unfortunately, none of the companies that manufacture wine magnets have taken the time to run their own experiments. The best that they can do is to tell people to try it for themselves and taste the difference.
That’s all well and good. But what about those people who don’t want to spend money on a trinket that turns out to be useless for its intended purpose.
Enter Dr. James Rubin and his team at Kings College London.
The team had heard plenty about the supposedly miraculous effects that magnets have on bottles of wine and they decided to take a closer look to see if a scientific test could prove the results.
The test involved 50 participants, each of whom was asked to conduct a blind taste on a glass of wine. Some of these glasses had been magnetised, whereas some of them hadn’t. Nobody participating in the experiment knew if their wine had undergone the magnetic treatment or not.
Unfortunately, it didn’t produce any statistically significant results. The researchers concluded that people just couldn’t tell any sort of difference between the wines that had been magnetised and those that hadn’t. There were no exclamations about the quality of any of the wines compared to what the researchers expected.
But there is a caveat to this, and it’s likely one that manufacturers of these devices will point to.
The wines used in the test cost £2.99 a bottle. That’s not exactly a price that you attach to a wine that really has any sort of quality about it.
The researchers used bargain basement wines as part of the test.
Some may claim that the effects of ageing wouldn’t exactly be stellar with such examples of wine. They’re not exactly of the highest quality to begin with and wines at that price point are really intended for quick consumption without any sort of ageing.
Of course, if the magnets had their intended effects, they’d have likely made such a wine taste terrible.
This is the only real experiment that has taken place to test this magnets theory. Perhaps more will pop up over time, but for now it’s all that we have to go on.
The Final Word
So, can magnets help you to age a bottle of wine?
What little science that we have suggests that they can’t. But you could also make the argument that the magnets haven’t been scientifically tested on bottles of wine that could actually benefit from ageing.
In the end, the decision to use them us up to you. They may be able to give you a jumpstart on the ageing process. But if they don’t work, you just end up opening a bottle of wine earlier than you should have.
And that takes you right back to the situation that we spoke about at the beginning of this article.