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The Wine Clip


docsconz
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Regardless of the scientific validity of the results posted thus far, they're very interesting. Some questions have been answered; some still remain.

On the question, "Does the clip do anything at all?" Mark's results, surprisingly, seem to say yes. Although I've been an outspoken skeptic about the clip, I'm willing to accept this, even if they're not double-blind ABX tests. Mark's tests were certainly more rigorous than Mr. Clip's demos, and I still don't know any objective (scientific) basis for why the clip may have have an effect. Be that as it may, Mark's testers say that there was a difference, and I accept that.

But we're not done yet.

The next question is, "Does the clip make the wine taste BETTER?" This is not so obvious from what I've seen thus far; further information is welcome. Diminished nose would seem to be a negative; diminshed tannins would seem to be a positive thing, but only if the wine was overly tannic to start with. If it 'removed' tannin flavor from an already properly-balanced wine, that would obviously be a bad thing. It seems that it only 'removed' tannins in already tannic wine (quite magical indeed), but I probably haven't read closely enough.

Next, there's the question of whether the clip does anything that letting the bottle "breathe" for awhile after opening wouldn't also do. The concensus seems to be that the clip accomplishes the same thing as "breathing" but instantaneously. (Personally, not being a wine geek or claiming a particularly refined palate, I have some problems with the "breathing" thing. The amount of surface area in an opened full bottle of wine exposed to the air is too small to have the air make much difference. Maybe if you decant it, or pour it in a glass and let it sit, but that's another matter. I accept that serious oenophiles think that breathing 'works,' but that's probably a matter for another thread, and another set of ABX tests).

But finally, there's the consumer reports question: "Is the clip worth spending $20 - $80 for?" Thus far, the answer seems to be a big "No." Again, further information is welcome.

Edit: add glass-pouring to mention of breathing - non-negligible change in content

Edited by Human Bean (log)
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Mark -

I think the best thing at this point would be for you to repeat the test, but reverse the order of 'clipped' vs 'unclipped' pouring, to elminiate the 'second pour has more agitation' variable. Or perhaps alternate the order.

Of course there are better ways to elminate variables, but this would be a good first pass.

To those screaming 'snake oil, it's not even worth testing until it's tested': sure, it might be snake oil. But damn, no need to insult or threaten the guy who's selling a product he believes works, and offers people the chance to try it. Can we leave this (or a new) thread primarily for test results?

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To those screaming 'snake oil, it's not even worth testing until it's tested': sure, it might be snake oil. But damn, no need to insult or threaten the guy who's selling a product he believes works, and offers people the chance to try it. Can we leave this (or a new) thread primarily for test results?

A very fine and REASONABLE suggestion.

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Steven Shaw is certainly right when he says that the tests were not scientific, and would not pass muster in a scientific journal. And he makes a good point when he says that all of Mark's results could be explained by variables other than the wine clip.

But I am still impressed with Mark's methodology, and I am still amazed by his results.

There's a reason they don't put the chemists next to the harpsichordists on college campuses. I think Mark did an excellent job controlling the variables he thought were important, and designing three tests to see if the Wine Clip did any good. And remember that he's a skeptic, and any placebo effect would be likely to sway things in the other direction. The fact that he believes that something is going on does, in my mind, make the clip worthy of further study.

That is not to say that Mr. Clip (sorry, I can't find his real name) is not a crackpot and a snake-oil salesman. His posts clearly demonstrate that he is both.

I find this whole thing fascinating. This whole thing has a lot of parallels to various pieces of pseudo-science, and my guess is that a rigorous scientific study will pronounce the Wine Clip useless. But it is interesting to read that it didn't fail right out of the box.

Bruce

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That is not to say that Mr. Clip (sorry, I can't find his real name) is not a crackpot and a snake-oil salesman.  His posts clearly demonstrate that he is both.

Bruce

You are walking a thin line. I suggest you remove these comments from your posts and then remain on the topic which is:

Does the Wine Clip work?

I have posted nothing less or more than any of you. Futhermore, I have not attacked you or anyone else on a personal level, nor have I posted any defamation against your or their characters.

I have sent an email to eGullet regarding the comments and expect them to end and to be removed immediatly!

On a personal note, I find it hard to call a person a snake-oil salesman and a crackpot when that person works hard, has won awards for that work, continues to work even harder on something new and innovative, sends out free samples of that innovation to people he does not know, gives them something interesting to talk about, references his competitor's products and the positive testimonials regarding it, offers his products and the shipping of these products to all of eGullet members at a discount that is near cost and then offers to send that money to a charity for sick and terminally ill children.

End it.

Edited by thewineclip (log)
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2 other testers have not reported their findings yet. Let us hope that one or both of them decides to do double blind ABX tests. I see some problems with that, though. The "agitation" variable cannot be gotten around. The only way around that is to use brand new bottles of the same wine, which introduces the bottle variation variable. The second pour vairable is, IMO, bunkum. Having worked with fine wine for 25 years, I have never seen the second glass of wine poured from a single bottle taste as if it have breathed for half an hour simply from pouring the first glass. Does the third glass taste like it breathed for an hour? I also don't understand how a placebo clip can have a psychological effect on people who are not even watching the wine be poured. I did a single blind test on people with very refined palates. They noticed a difference, which is all we set out to find. Not if the Clip makes the wine taste better or worse. Who will the control group be in a double blind test? Grannies? Babies? Wine Experts? Lab rats? I have no interest in doing more tests, coming back here and getting ambushed again with scientific babble about something as personal and subjective as the taste of a glass of wine. If science can prove the Wine Clip works, I think a better approach was suggested by Dr. Vengroff. Darren, can I borrow your mass spectrograph?

Mark

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I don't blame people for being skeptical - this whole thing sounds pretty far-fetched. But if you think about it, we already have two simple items in our kitchens that can take a young white Burgundy, for example, and "mellow it out" - a freezer and a microwave. The wine, when frozen, will throw off this crystalline/tartrate deposit and taste noticeably more lactic when brought back to room temperature. Anyone doubting the power of a strong magnet only needs to toss a key into an MRI machine - the thing will travel like a bullet.

The one thing that keeps repeating itself to me here is how fragile, nuanced and easily damaged great red Burgundy can be.

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I have to agree that ad hominem attacks are uncalled for and should not be a part of this discussion. Does the Clip work or not and if it does alter the wine does it "enhance" it, is the real question. I did another brief test last night with flawed methodology. I opened a 1998 JSM Shiraz/Cab franc from Fox Creek in Australia, poured without TWC first then with and served it blindly to a subject while also trying it myself. The subject seemed to notice a difference between the wines. She identified a diminished nose in TWC sample and preferred the sample without TWC. This was not a strong preference on her part. As far as my unblinded tasting, I thought the nose was diminished on TWC sample, but could discern no appreciable difference or significant preference for either sample.

These tastings are certainly not science and are posted not to "convince" anyone for or against TWC. They are enough, however, for me to conclude so far that for the wines tasted, the "enhancement" certainly isn't significant, if there is any at all. In fact, the blinded tasters have marginally preferred the glasses that were from the nonWC pours.

I Think Mr. Lynch has been a sport with the process and the discussion, which sometimes has gotten out of hand. Once again, I suggest that if anyone continues to have an interest in the product after reading the preponderence of posts on the subject, then that person should try it for him or herself. As for me I haven't been able to generate any real reason to invest additional time and energy into a more substantive study. I do think that if Mr. Lynch truly believes in his product, he should do so. Of course this would be a pretty big gamble. If good studies bore out his contention, it would go a long way to help out his marketing. On the other hand, if they didn't support the product, the company would not be able to make the claims they make without lying, in which case sales would dry up. Sales and potential sales are probably sufficient now to not risk the latter.

Whether or not TWC has a"real" effect on enhancing the wine, this would not be the first product in the wine industry to take advantage of this gray area of perception. One may argue that this happens quite frequently with wines that one is supposed to "like" because of the producer, label, vintage or whatever. I'm not sure that it is necessarily a bad thing if the person using the product feels "enhanced" by it.

As with any product - Caveat Emptor.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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FWIW... if anyone who has one of the "test" Wine Clips wants to sent theirs to NYC, I'd be happy to set up a double-blind ABX test in consultation with the other science and psychology people on the site, controlling variables to whatever extent is possible outside the context of a professional lab.

I'd send it back when done.

--

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I started a thread on wine glasses but I've been asked to "come clean" as to my intentions so here goes:

I pulled the following from Riedel's website:

"This glass smoothes out the rough edges, emphasizing the fruit, allowing wines to achieve a balance that would normally take years of ageing to acquire."

This is a claim by Riedel about their Bordeaux Vinum glass. Their claim is similar to Mr. Wine Clip's claim. I was unable to find any evidence on their website that their glass does what it says it does. I don't see any double blind testing being done nor anyone here asking them to PROVE IT.

I know that many members have purchased these and other glasses from Riedel, even encouraged others to do the same. I do not recall any members accusing the Riedel company of being snake-oil salesman and selling something worthless (or maybe just not worth the price their charging).

I do not understand why eGulleteers have to pounce on people BEFORE even trying something. Mr. WIne Clip came on to the site AFTER a member raised the Wine Clip topic. He's been a stand-up guy from the get go offering to send clips to SKEPTICS for free just to get people to try it. That is showing confidence in his product and should be commended.

Ask the Riedel folks if they'll send you a few Vinum glasses to test THEIR claim and see what their response is.

Also, for the sake of full disclosure, I don't know Mr. Wine Clip or ever heard of the Wine Clip before the thread started. I just think that the treatment afforded him by many here is disgraceful.

"These pretzels are making me thirsty." --Kramer

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I don't own either Riedel glasses or a wine clip. I buy my stemware by the dozen from a restaurant supply store. If I decide I want to magnetize my wine, I will spend $6 on some rare-earth magnets rather than $79 for a clip. I'll put the savings into wine.

If anyone can entice Mr. Riedel to join us here, I will ask him for copies of any patents or research reports he may have, just as I asked Mr. Clip for his.

Chief Scientist / Amateur Cook

MadVal, Seattle, WA

Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code

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I conducted an informal (and totally unscientific) test last night. I had a friend pour two sets of three glasses each from a 1996 Uiterwyk Pinotage, selected because of Mark's comments on the Pinot Noir. One or two of the glasses would be clipped. Pouring took place absent I and my SO (probably one of the best "noses" Ii know). We both picked the clipped wine (one glass in my case and two glasses in my SO's case) from the others. My SO picked hers on nose alone. We also experienced that after a while the difference was less distinct.

There was a marked softening of the edges and an increased fruity note. SO's comment was that the clipped wines were distinctly "flatter" and more one-dimensional on the nose.

Scientific? No. Am I convinced TWC makes a difference? Yes. Am I going to return it? Nope. Will I buy more? Absolutely - I cannot think of a better gift for my oenophile friends.

Gerhard Groenewald

www.mesamis.co.za

Wilderness

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I started a thread on wine glasses but I've been asked to "come clean" as to my intentions so here goes:

I pulled the following from Riedel's website:

"This glass smoothes out the rough edges, emphasizing the fruit, allowing wines to achieve a balance that would normally take years of ageing to acquire."

This is a claim by Riedel about their Bordeaux Vinum glass. Their claim is similar to Mr. Wine Clip's claim. I was unable to find any evidence on their website that their glass does what it says it does. I don't see any double blind testing being done nor anyone here asking them to PROVE IT.

I think this is a fair point. I don't think there is that much difference between the two cases. In both cases it is marketing 'puff'.

At least the Riedel stuff does actually do something -- convey the liquid to your lips. And they look nice.

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I think it might be relevant to quote FG's response from the tangential thread you started:

"This glass (1) smoothes out the rough edges, (2) emphasizing the fruit, (3) allowing wines to achieve a balance that would normally take years of ageing to acquire."

Certainly, 1 & 2 are possible. Wine glass shape has been shown time and again to affect these factors to some degree. No one glass will do this for all wines, but a properly designed glass is one of the standard tools of wine enjoyment. Number 3 is of course not possible. There is no known substitute for "years of ageing." Although from a legalistic standpoint the only claim that has been made is "balance" which is a sufficiently soft claim as to be unverifiable either way.

The salient difference between Riedel's claim and Mr. Clip's claim is that (1) there is a large body of scientific evidence and agreement that glassware can and does influence one's perceptions of the wine consumed from same and (2) the Riedel people aren't suggesting that their product changes the wine, they are only suggesting that their product can change your perception of the wine in a certain way. Mr. Clip (1) does not have a large body of scientific evidence to support his claim and (2) he does claim that his product fundamentally changes the wine. It is also worthy of note that Riedel is a company with a long and illustrious history of making high quality stemware and not bullshitting people any more than the accepted norms of advertising.

Now, I do think that Riedel's claim is a bit much and a little snake-oiley in that respect. That said, the Riedel glass clearly does do something, so the debate is to whether or not the something it does is what they claim in the text you have provided above. But there is a huge degree of magintude separating Riedel's claims and Mr. Clip's claims. Mr. Clip's claims, as people have pointed out a number of times, are not only unsupported by any evidence whatsoever but run counter to some things that are commonly accepted in the scientific world.

So, to sum up: For Riedel the issue is not whether it works, but rather whether it work in the precise fashion claimed. For the Wine Clip the issue is whether it works at all.

As to whether or not eGullet has given preferential treatment to companies like Riedel while jumping on companies like the Wine Clip. I believe that, had someone started a thread on these forums saying "Riedel Bordeaux Vinum Glass: does it really make new wine taste aged?" you would find that most people would respond by saying: (1) yes, glassware can change the percieved qualities of wine, but (2) it's bogus to claim that it "allows wines to achieve a balance that would normally take years of ageing to acquire." It is worthy of note that these are exactly the kinds of responses you got in your short lived make-a-point thread. Furthermore, if a sales rep for Riedel came to the site and started defending Riedel's claim in the way Mr. Clip has done here, I think you'd see a fairly similar thread.

--

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If anyone can entice Mr. Riedel to join us here, I will ask him for copies of any patents or research reports he may have, just as I asked Mr. Clip for his.

Why does he need to join here? People are regularly slammed that never even heard of eGullet. They've made a public claim on a public website. Here is their e-mail address:

info@riedelusa.com

Rick Bayless never appeared here. Look what happened to him. :shock:

"These pretzels are making me thirsty." --Kramer

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riedel has a long history, and is favored by experts.  the wine clip doesn't have a history, and very few experts seem to endorse it.  i don't think it's fair to compare the two.

I own Riedel (Vinum and Vinum Extreme), Spiegelau (Authentis and Vino Grande), Schott (distributed by Onida in the US), as well as dozens of different shaped glasses from tasting rooms around the valley and restaurant supply stores.

If anyone is interested in doing a wine glass comparison tasting let me know, I've done several in the past and they have always had consistent results - people prefer the Riedel stems over the others. More disturbing to me, since it means I need to buy more glasses, is the fact that almost everyone is able to identify the correct Riedel glass for each wine. For example if I pour a shiraz into a chianti glass, a bordeaux glass and a syrah glass, most everyone selects the syrah glass independently (without being told the wine or which glass is recommended for which wine).

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Why does he need to join here? People are regularly slammed that never even heard of eGullet. They've made a public claim on a public website.

Their claim is supported by countless industry experts, visit any winery with too much money on their hands - they are pouring their wines into Riedel glasses, none of them are duct-taping magnets to the bottles and waving incense around.

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But did you have the tasters sitting in a controlled climatized atmospheric bubble for a double blind study and put the results through a university computer to validate the results or did you ask them which one they preferred? :smile:

"These pretzels are making me thirsty." --Kramer

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The Riedel claim of enhancing the enjoyment of wine has been proven over and over again - for decades. There is no argument among any industry professionals that I am aware of concerning this fact.

You can debate all you want as to HOW they improve it, but in fact they do - as does other fine glassware.

Try to find a serious winery where that doesn't pour their wine in Reidels anymore. They know how to sell wine.

I had invited him to do a Q and A. Looks like that is out of the question.

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Why does he need to join here? People are regularly slammed that never even heard of eGullet. They've made a public claim on a public website.

Their claim is supported by countless industry experts, visit any winery with too much money on their hands - they are pouring their wines into Riedel glasses, none of them are duct-taping magnets to the bottles and waving incense around.

I have never seen their claim that their Bordeaux Vinum glass "... allowing wines to achieve a balance that would normally take years of ageing to acquire." has been supported by science or an expert. I've seen respected wine geeks say they prefer the riedel glasses to others as they believe the shape and size of the glass has an affect on the nose and directs the wine to particular parts of the tongue, nothing more, nothing less.

Craig, why is the Q&A now out of the question?

"These pretzels are making me thirsty." --Kramer

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