The strange case of the magnetic wine
Ben Goldacre shows how claims for the wine-maturing effects of magnets could be assessed with 50 people in an evening.Key Concepts addressed:
Dr Ben Goldacre, Thursday December 4, 2003, The Guardian
What is it about magnets that amazes the pseudoscientists so much? The good magnetic energy of my Magneto-Tex blanket will cure my back pain; but I need a Qlink pendant to protect me from the bad magnetism created by household devices. Reader Bill Bingham (weirdly, the guy who used to read the shipping forecast) sends in news of the exciting new Wine Magnet: “Let your wine ‘age’ several years in only 45 minutes! Place the bottle in the Wine Magnet! The Wine Magnet then creates a strong magnetic field that goes to the heart of your wine and naturally softens the bitter taste of tannins in ‘young’ wines.”
I was previously unaware of the magnetic properties of wine, but this presumably explains why I tend to become aligned with the Earth’s magnetic field after drinking a few bottles. The general theory on wine maturation – and doesn’t it warm the cockles of your heart to know that there are people out there studying it – is that it’s all about the polymerisation of tannins, which could conceivably be accelerated if they were all concentrated in local pockets: although surely not in 45 minutes.