If you’re bored of the usual red, white and rose wines, perhaps this bright blue variety is more to your taste. Spanish startup Gïk, with the help of scientists at the University of the Basque Country and food researchers at Azti Tecnalia, has spent two years concocting the sweet Riesling-like wine. The secret recipe includes a blend of red and white grapes sourced from vineyards outside of Madrid. The wine, which has an alcohol content level of 11.5 percent, gets its blue hue from a mix of anthocyanin, a pigment found in grape skin, and an indigo dye. Aritz López, Gïk’s co-founder, explains why you won’t be feeling blue after quaffing on this beverage.
How did you come up with the idea to create blue wine?
Gïk was born for fun and to shake things up a little. We wanted to innovate, to create something, to start a little revolution; and the wine industry looked like the perfect place to start.
Why is that?
We are all very young and we were born in a country where wine is very linked to a culture that hasn't changed for centuries and it seems that they prefer tradition instead of innovation. We thought this didn't make sense anymore, so we started to think about changing it. None of us liked traditional wine, nor the rules that surround it. It is even the liquid that represents Christ's blood at church! That's why we decided to start our own revolution by creating a sweet, easy to drink blue wine. Moreover, new generations are not used to wine's flavors — they prefer beers, liquors and cocktails instead.
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That's why for us, Gïk has a lot of meaning: it is a way of artistic expression, it represents the innovative side of life along with something we believe is essential —the creative rebellion.
So you’ve never had any experience of making wines?
We are not winemakers and we don't even have a family link to the industry. Maybe that's why we dared to change such a traditional world. We wanted to spread a revolution that normal people like us, and not wine connoisseurs, could enjoy.
Does the blue color have some meaning?
Yes. When we started to think about it, we read a book called the "Blue Ocean Strategy," which says there are two kinds of oceans: the red one, which is full of sharks (competitors) fighting against each other for a few fish (clients) and turning the ocean red because of the blood. And it talked about creating blue oceans, where, thanks to creativity and innovation, everyone could be free. It looked like poetry to us to turn a red beverage into a blue one, so it couldn't be any other color. Moreover, blue means technology, fluidity, innovation — concepts we identify ourselves with.
By the way, how does it become blue?
We had a lot of help mainly from our university, which gave us a laboratory, so we could investigate alongside several leading technological institutes within the food industry, as well as a team of chemical engineers. Thanks to them, we discovered that the best way to do it was to go back to the beginning and merge nature and technology: we mix different varieties of red and white grapes. Then, we add two organic pigments: the anthocyanin, which comes from the red grapes' skin, and the indigotine, which comes from a plant. Thanks to those pigments, we turn it blue. Then we change the flavor by using non-caloric sweeteners as if it were a soft drink.
But the wine is natural, right?
Yes, it is 100 percent made out of grapes. We mix different varieties of red and white grapes, and we work together with various wineries, mainly from Spain but we are also talking to wineries in other countries. And we sell it through the largest winery in the world: the internet.
What does it taste like in comparison to usual wines?
It is a sweet, fresh and easy to drink wine. We can only say it tastes like blue wine, as it has a very unique flavor. In the end, it is something that you either like or hate.
We hope to enjoy this journey going as far as our revolution wants us to go. We have recently launched some websites so almost everyone in Europe can enjoy it. We've also enabled pre-orders from the U.S. and are very happy to see how the interest is increasing day by day.