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Scientists claim to ‘re-create Montelena 1973’ with no grapes

A company in San Francisco has claimed it can create wine without using grapes or fermentation - only with molecules.

Ava Winery claimed it has created synthetic wine in a laboratory from amino acids, acids, sugars, volatile organics and ethanol.

Its co-founders said they decided to begin the project after seeing one of the California wines that won in the 1976 Judgement of Paris tasting.

‘The idea was inspired by the Chateau Montelena 1973,’ Ava co-founder Alec Lee told Decanter.com.

‘My co-founder Mardonn saw the wine on display in Napa and thought it was a shame that only a handful of people today know how it tastes. The idea was what if we could recreate it so that everybody could experience it?’

The name Ava Winery deliberately plays on the term American Viticultural Area, and started ‘with the goal of making the great vintages accessible to all’.

However, there were doubts about whether Ava’s creation could be legally called wine in countries. And some wine critics were unsure of the claims about re-creating fine wines of the past.

DWWA judge Matt Walls said, ‘The concept is mind-blowing, and I’d love to try the finished article. It reminds me of the drinks machine in Star Trek that dispenses anything you ask for.

‘But do I believe they’ll produce an exact replica of a legendary wine? Not in a million light years.’

Lee described the project as ‘the democratisation of wine’. He said that there were other environmental benefits, such as using less water than traditional winemaking methods – and ‘no sulfites’ added to the wine.

He said that Ava hopes to have a product ready for the market in around six months, and has hired a sommelier.

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