The cheap wine hack that could save you bundles of cash

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Kayleigh Dray

“Wine makes every meal an occasion, every table more elegant, and every day more civilised,” said award-winning novelist Andre Simon – but we doubt he was talking a £1.99 bottle of plonk from the bargain bin at your local corner shop.

And, while there’s no denying that life is too short to drink bad wine, it’s hard to resist a glass (or five) of the lip-puckering stuff when it’s so much easier on the purse-strings.

Thank goodness, then, that one scientist has come up with a genius life hack, which he claims will transform your dodgy red vino into the finest vintage.

Nathan Myhrvold, who has a degree in mathematics, geophysics and space physics form UCLA, has discovered that adding a few grains of salt to your glass can smooth out and balance the flavours of some wines.

We’ll raise a glass to that…

We’ll raise a glass to that…

According to The Wall Street Journal, Myhrvold tried this technique for the first time a few years ago while sitting next to sommelier Gina Gallo at a dinner party in California.

Both of them were lamenting the lack of savoury flavours in a Cabernet, when he decided to see if he could work his magic.

“I said ‘I can make it more savoury’ so I added a little salt to the wine, which totally changed it,” Myhrvold told them.

“I start by adding just a tiny pinch and what it does is to balance the flavours. With most wines, they immediately taste smoother. We have many different types of flavour receptors,” he added.

Myhrvold estimates that in addition to sweet, sour, salt, bitter and umami, humans have around 40 other taste receptors in their tongue.

“When you taste something, you have this cacophony of different tastes and your brain tries to summarise that.

“A tiny bit of salt changes the overall impression, which is why chefs salt food,” Myhrvold said.

Just a sprinkle of salt will do the trick

Just a sprinkle of salt will do the trick

If a sprinkle of salt doesn’t do the trick, you can always try pouring your bad wine into a blender and whizzing it for about 30 seconds.

According to fans of the trend, popping wine in the blender helps to age it five years in 30 seconds – and that exposing young wine to so much air can quickly soften tannins, a natural substance that gives wine its dry taste.

Speaking to ABC News about the trend, Marcy Roth – the owner of Bacchus and Venus Wines in California – explained that blending wine acts as a form of hyperdecanting.

“Decanting was traditionally done to separate the settlements from the wine so you wouldn't end up with hunks of grape skin in your glass or your teeth,” Roth said.

“It also opens up the wine and aerates it, allowing more of the flavour and aromas to come forth and to show their most finessed polish side.”

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We're sold on this idea

We're sold on this idea

So there you have it, cash-strapped wine lovers; save your pennies next time your friends come over, and pick up a bottle of the cheapest red.

Then all you have to do is sprinkle it with salt, and toss it into a blender; just be sure to have a camera on standby so you can capture the looks on their faces when you hit the ‘pulse’ button…


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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is editor of, where she chases after rogue apostrophes and specialises in films, comic books, feminism and television. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends. 

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