Hangover-free wine may soon be here

Hangover-free wine?
Scientists at the University of Illinois have discovered a way to modify yeast that could lead to the development of hangover-free wine.
(Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)

To put it lightly, wine hangovers are the worst thing ever. After polishing off a bottle of your favorite red, the next morning is a foggy haze of nausea, a headache that may or may not split your forehead open, and an unshakable feeling that your neighbor has been playing “Call Me Maybe” on repeat all night just to torture you.  

Instead of giving up your favorite Pinot Noir, the scientists at the University of Illinois are here to help. They’ve created a modified yeast that could actually reduce the elements in wine that cause a hangover. 

Yong-Su Jin, an associate professor of microbial genomics at the university, and his team, developed a way to engineer Saccharomyces cerevisiae, a species of yeast often used to ferment beer and wine. 

“Wine, for instance, contains the healthful component resveratrol,” Jin said in a release. "With engineered yeast, we could increase the amount of resveratrol in a variety of wine by 10 times or more.”


Using an enzyme that acts as a “genome knife,” capable of cutting across multiple copies of genes to create mutations, it is also possible to add ginseng, say, or other beneficial components to the wine yeast, Jin said. 

“Scientists need to create designed mutations to determine the function of specific genes,” said Jin. “Say we have a yeast that produces a wine with great flavor and we want to know why. We delete one gene, then another, until the distinctive flavor is gone, and we know we’ve isolated the gene responsible for that characteristic.”

Now if someone could just get to work on making a hangover-free dirty martini.  

The first round is on me. Follow me on Twitter @Jenn_Harris_


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