Wine Technology of the Future: The Self-Aerating Wine Bottle

In the past couple hundred years or so, there hasn’t been much by way of changes in the shape of the wine bottle.  There are established standards for certain types of wine, and established sizes, however, most of what you see on the shelves at the wine shop are relatively uniform (give or take a few “odd balls”).   

While randomly searching the internet for new research articles on wine, I stumbled across a new patent application (published on February 9th, 2012) for a unique type of wine bottle that, to my knowledge, has not been created before:  the “Self-Aerating Wine Bottle”.

According to the brief summary of the product, “the self-aerating wine bottle may include a body having a top and a bottom, the top having an opening through which wine is dispensed, and a plurality of aerating shapes located in proximity to the top of the body, the plurality of aerating shapes serving to create a surface area that aerates wine when the wine is dispensed from the top of the body”.

I’ve included three of the figures of the self-aerating wine bottle that were from the patent application throughout this post.

What did the inventors of the self-aerating wine bottle choose to create this device?  Well, they claim that while yes, there are many products out there that serve to aerate wine, most of which attach to the top of the bottle, these devices can be fragile and relatively expensive.  They also claim that you always need to have these devices on hand, which is often not possible, due to it being cumbersome to carry say inside a restaurant or to a friends’ house for dinner.  By incorporating the aerating mechanism inside the bottle itself, these problems are nullified. 


According to the patent, these “plurality of aerating shapes” include crescents, stars, hearts, dimples, grooves, squares, circles, ovals, polygons, diamonds, lightning bolts, and snowflakes.  Which type of shape built into the body depends upon the type of wine inside the bottle, and the size of these shapes also depends on the type of wine in the bottle (ex.: more intense shapes for the bigger reds).  These shapes inside the wine bottle effectively create more surface area which create lift and drop action in order to add oxygen into the wine, and “bring it to life”.  

 


According to the patent, by including this aerating mechanism into the bottle itself, it eliminates the extra step of placing an external aerator on top of the bottle, and also saves money, since one would no longer have to purchase the external aerator to begin with.  The inventors also claim that this design saves world resources, as the self-aerating bottle is now doing more and performing more functions using the same amount of raw materials.

The inventors also lay claims to how this self-aerating bottle design benefits certain types of people/entities, including the consumer, the wine brand, the retailer, and the bottle maker.  For the consumer, the self-aerating wine bottle makes the wine ready for consumption faster and is an overall added value.  Also, the unique shapes make the purchase novel and make a nice gift for someone (i.e. the heart shapes for a lover).  For the wine brand, it makes the bottle stand out on the shelf, and creates a “buzz” among consumers.    For the retailer, it gives them a unique talking point with their customers, and also because of the unique protruding shapes, it invites customers to pick up and feel the bottle (which studies have shown, once the bottle is in the customers’ hand, they are more likely to purchase it than if they did not pick it up).  Finally, for the bottle maker, the design allows them to use the same amount of glass while increasing the overall surface area inside the bottle (at no additional cost to the consumer), and increases the overall sales and product line of the company.

To my knowledge, there haven’t been any peer-reviewed scientific studies examining this novel type of wine bottle, but the patent application certainly does intrigue me.  Keep an eye out on the shelves for this type of bottle, and if you do have access to it, please report back and let us know what you think!

In case you’re curious about more of the details, here is the link to the patent (application number 20120031915).



I am not a health professional, nor do I pretend to be. Please consult your doctor before altering your alcohol consumption habits. Do not consume alcohol if you are under the age of 21. Do not drink and drive. Enjoy responsibly!

11 comments for “Wine Technology of the Future: The Self-Aerating Wine Bottle

  1. Micah Nasarow
    March 5, 2012 at 7:59 pm

    The first question is what would be the increase in cost per bottle. As a small producer I pay about $0.67 a bottle…which is probably a lot more that very large producers. New molds will need to be created at the bottle manufacturers and they may not want to take on the burden. If these dudes have a couple of prototypes, then I would need to see some hard sensory data at the 95% confidence level that indeed my wine has been altered in favor with a glass pour. Hell, I would also like to see data of dissolved oxygen of a control bottle glass pour, and then one with the new-and-improved aerator bottle glass pour.

  2. March 5, 2012 at 10:47 pm

    Thanks for commenting, Micah! Reading through the patent, it seems as though they claim there won't be any increases in cost per bottle, though who really knows, I suppose!

    The whole design intrigues me, and I'm really curious if it's going to go any further than the patent stage. I'm hoping someone out there does some research soon, particularly with everything you suggested, so we have some proof that this design actually works and isn't a money pit for those producers that wish to purchase them.

  3. Sue Langstaff
    March 6, 2012 at 12:06 am

    I had a chance to evaluate a similar product. The correct sensory test to perform would be a difference test. However, the client wanted to find out if consumers had a preference for the wine from one type of bottle over another. The result (n=80): no statistically significant difference in preference between wine from the "aerating" bottle vs. control bottle. There was also a focus group gathering opinions on the design of the bottle (it looked cool). A sensory difference test, such as the triangle test, would reveal if there were indeed statistically significant differences between the wines from the two bottle types. If the differences were large enough, descriptive analysis could be used to profile how the wines differed (wine from aeratiing bottle was more fruity, less astringent, etc).

    We did some sensory testing with an aerating device (compared to wine not going through the device) and the manufacturer used the sensory results on their packaging. It is not correct to claim that the wine has been "improved" using the device or aerating bottle. You must state HOW the wine has been altered using the device since "improve" will not be the same to everyone.

  4. Chris
    March 6, 2012 at 2:14 am

    I would be interested in seeing some data about actual consumer preferences.

    I've not read the patent application, but it sort of seems similar to the beer bottle designed to pour easier. I think that is Miller Lite (? I don't know, I don't drink that product). Another way of saying this, is it sounds like a marketing gimmick for a large scale producer – Bronco, Yelow Tail, etc. who want to market their cheap product to the great masses and need something "cool" to attract new consumers by trying to communicate quality. With their "new bottle" they can then do a marketing blast about how awesome the wine is aerated and the quality is so and so improved etc. Resulting in a placebo effect in the minds of their targeted consumers. After all, if I think the wine is supposed to be great an high quality, I will tend to associate those thoughts with the product (need to find the reference to this statement). I make the above statements with the express assumption that there is no appreciable difference in the wine from traditional bottles over the one described.

  5. March 6, 2012 at 3:07 am

    Hi Sue! Thanks for your very fascinating comments!

    What ever happened with this "aerating" bottle design? Is it the same bottle that applied for the patent? Or did this other bottle simply not get created? (or maybe they are still working on it).

    Great points on the improvement claims! I know there have been times when I didn't enjoy a particular wine as much after using an aerating device, compared to what it was before use, so you're right in that it's critical to mention how it changes, and not the fact that it changes for the better, since that determination is dependent upon who is drinking it.

    Keep us posted if you end up testing the sensory characteristics of wines contained in the bottle from this patent!

  6. Sue Langstaff
    March 6, 2012 at 4:46 am

    There were many designs that the company was working on. As far as I know the bottles are not yet commericailly available and they are not related to the design in the patent. My experience with these "gadgets" is that most of them look cool and their creators make some pseudoscientific sounding claims, but in the end there is usually no statistically significant difference between wine treated with the magic device vs. a control wine.

  7. jasonbrumley
    March 6, 2012 at 12:13 pm

    I wonder if so many small divots in the bottle would affect the integrity of the bottle. If the glass is the same thickness at these divots as the rest of the bottle, then the uneven points in the bottle's shape will put uneven stress on said points.This, in turn, will result in many weakened areas where the divots were created. These weakened areas would be more apt to create stress fracturing. This is the reason that the punt of the bottle is thicker glass than the rest of the bottle. I would be concerned about shipping these bottles.

  8. March 6, 2012 at 10:51 pm

    Great points, Jason! From glancing at the description of the patent, I'm not certain how they address this potential issue. It is definitely something I agree should be addressed before mass producing an item such as this.

  9. March 9, 2012 at 7:54 pm

    Hi Chris,

    Great points! I agree that some study focusing on sensory analysis coupled with consumer preferences should be done. I can definitely see it as some sort of marketing gimmick, which companies could probably get away with, even if there was no scientific data to back it up!

    Thanks for reading!

  10. March 25, 2013 at 6:36 pm

    I’m one of the co-founders of The AireWine Company, which filed this patent. I just stumbled upon a link to this article in another Academic Wino post! Love the blog… had no idea you wrote about our patent. So cool.

    We now have multi-layer PET bottles using our design with Stelvin closures in production… lightweight, shatterproof, eco-friendly and BPA-free. We’re also working with two different glass manufacturers to develop our design in glass; it hit a stumbling block on one of the larger production lines last year, but we’ve lately had some breakthroughs, so we’re hopeful.

    We’ve purchased all the molds ourselves, so that is not an additional cost for the manufacturer. We tentatively estimate the cost to a winery for our PET bottles at about US$0.60 a bottle, though that could change for better or worse based on a number of factors.

    In 2011, we had an initial aeration test conducted on an early prototype of our design with a dissolved oxygen meter at CJ Pask winery, which had the necessary lab and equipment to help us out, and the results consistently showed 10-13% higher oxygen levels in the wine poured from our bottles than the wine poured from comparable traditional wine bottles. It’s promising, at least, but far from definitive, I’ll be the first to admit.

    Massey University in New Zealand also began to design formal aeration testing for us shortly thereafter, but the researchers involved ran into significant challenges in coming up with an accurate test because we were only able to provide an early prototype rather than wine professionally bottled in our finished product. We put the test on temporary hold due to some of the challenges that came with using our prototype, but getting some truly definitive and professional research is high on our priority list. We hope that as soon as a winery begins to use our bottle (a few seem very close!) we’ll have a much better chance at an accurate and definitive test.

    In addition to the aeration tests, several seniors in Cal Poly’s Wine and Viticulture program are currently conducting market research on Millennial perceptions of the bottle as their capstone project… I’m looking forward to seeing those results, too.

    I really appreciate all the advice the commenters have given on how to test this properly, and I’d love to hear anything else any of you have to share… we’re learning as we go! From the initial tests we’ve done, we have a lot of faith in the aeration produced by our design, and I can’t wait until the project has advanced enough to be able to prove it to anyone who might be (so very rightly) skeptical.

  11. January 10, 2014 at 10:33 am

    This sounds interesting, especially for vintage, tannic reds that do not see micro-oxygenation prior to bottling and see some level of preservative addition.

    A thought: as popular as a new wine can be, bottles will still sit on the shelf for weeks, even months. Increasing the rate of oxygenation, which increases the chance of alcohol being converted into acetic acid (if acetobacter is present), will thus make the wine seem older sooner, or worse, faulty. It would impossible to put a “sell by” date on wine (given vintage, bottle, lot variation). But some long term trials might be informative.

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