How good is your New Year's bubbly? Listen closely
Pop! goes the New Year's corks—and the bubbles that result might point to how high-quality your champagne is, researchers say.
"We came across the idea that bubbles play an important role in the quality of a sparkling wine," said study lead researcher Kyle Spratt, from the Applied Research Laboratories at the University of Texas at Austin.
So he said his team decided to drop a hydrophone—an underwater listening device—"into a glass and see what kind of sound we can hear" based on how high-quality the beverage was.
"Bubbles are very resonant," Spratt said in a university news release. "They basically ring like bells, and the frequency of that ringing depends in part on the size of the bubbles. There is a well-known notion that the quality of a sparkling wine is correlated to the size of its bubbles, and we are investigating whether the bubble size distribution of a sparkling wine can be obtained from simple acoustical measurements."
This line of research could help in quality testing of champagne and other sparkling wines and carbonated beverages, the researchers believe. The sounds of bubbles could also prevent errors in manufacturing or packaging that may not be detectable by taste alone.
"The direct application would be as a simple tool that could be used to monitor the bubble size distribution in sparkling wines," Spratt said.
He and his colleagues outlined their findings earlier this month at the Acoustical Society of America meeting, in New Orleans.
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