jamie goode's wine blog

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Oh no! Magnets and wine are back in the news (see here, here and here). The gizmo under discussion is marketed by Dr Patrick Farrell MW.

Dear readers, unless what we know about science is false, I reckon there is as much chance of this device doing what its manufacturers claim as there is of Stuart Pearce phoning me up and asking me to play centre forward for Manchester City in their opening game of the season against Chelsea. Tannins are not going to undergo chemical rearrangement into longer chains as a result of a magnetic force. The reason people have been convinced this device 'works' is that it is aerating the wine. Pour the first glass and taste it. Then pour a second through this device, and it may well taste a little different because it has been aerated. The proper comparison is to take the device and compare it with one which is the same, just without the magnets. Pour a glass from each, but under blind conditions so the power of suggestion is removed. Any difference? I didn't think so.


At 5:44 PM, Anonymous Psycho said...


Don't suppose you're free Saturday week, are you mate?

At 3:43 AM, Blogger Mike said...


I agree. I didn't even feel like blogging this when my wife gave me the San Diego Union Tribune article. Your approach, pour using the plastic (?) attachment with and without magnets in a single blind fashion, would be a good way to see if this magnets do anything at all to wine. I seriously doubt it.


At 4:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lots of talk, very little science. I, too, was not only skeptical, but also cynical when approached with the concept of magnets doing anything to wine. Only after doing several tastings was I surprised to discover that there was a significant difference. Only then did I consider possible mechanisms of action.

Speaking of science, Jamie, are you aware of the bases of fining? Electrostatic charges. Tannins are negatively charged and proteins positively charged. I do hope that I'm not delving beyond your scientific knowlegdge. I suspect not and I suspect that you may very well be a failed master of wine student. But let's save that for another time. I truly don't know though suspect that your arrogance and modicum of talent brought you up the ladder to a certain point and then no further.

Anyway, the device works well on extracted red wines and also inexpensive reds given the kiss of oak with either oak chips, oak staves, or a short but intensive stay in new oak barrels. The spirits device, even works better, on wood matured spirits.

Jamie, do you not have even an iota of intellectual curiosity? Not even just a tad? What exactly is your scientific background. You blow away the concept out of hand. Do you have a master of wine credential? How about a background in biological chemistry? Microbiology? Or are you just another wine wannabe, perhaps with some journalism background?

I will be happy to put on a tasting, using the wines and spirits of my choosing, to demonstrate that you know little about wine. Or certainly, not what you purport to know. Are you game or just a wannabe?

Dr. Patrick Farrell, MW

At 1:13 PM, Blogger Tom said...

'cor. he's a feisty little fellow, isn't he. methinks he protesteth too much.

At 11:42 PM, Anonymous Tony said...


Did you give the test a try?

If not, the good Dr. Farrell -- who criticises you for arrogance with a straight face -- ought to pony up one of his magnet gizmos for you and 10 of your friends to use in a blind test.

He waves his hands all high and mighty about science, chemistry, microbiology, and his wine credentials. He wonders if you are a "wannabe".

But at the end of it all isn't he the one who is guilty of his own charge: "Lots of talk, very little science"?

I propose you return his challenge in kind. Ask him to provide his magnet gizmo and arrange a taste test with a group of guests. Let him know that you'll buy the gizmo if it works as advertised and reassure him of your obvious integrity and honesty. Document the whole thing openly on your blog.

I think this is a better challenge than the one he proposes. After all, it is not whether you know anything about wine or not that is at issue, right? It is whether his gizmo works or not. Or is he saying that only a Wine Master could tell?

My guess is that he will either ignore you or back down citing concerns over your integrity or impartiality or something. That's his prerogative. But who would be the arrogant unscientific one then?

Best of luck.

At 2:53 AM, Anonymous tony said...

"Jaime" is the tony-lingo very respectful version of "Jamie".

Sorry about that.

At 7:06 AM, Anonymous Jon said...

I'm very surprised that Dr Farrel MD believes that the effect of a weak magentic field is akin to fining.

Surely he understands that fining works by attracting the phenolic molecules and dropping them out of solution. I'd like to know where the molecules are supposed to go when they have passed through his magnets.

If they do in fact break up the molucule into smaller tannins, surely this would make the wine more astringent.

If it truly worked wouldn't he be better marketing a magnetic field generator for your cellar.


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