Between the cold steel of enormous fermentation tanks and the state-of-the-art equipment in the tasting rooms of today’s modern wineries, it’s hard to believe that there is any element of the winemaking process that is not governed by the strict dictates of science. So imagine my surprise when, visiting just such a winery in the heart of Spain’s Castilla de la Mancha, I found a winemaker using the Japanese technique of reiki to channel positive energy into their wines.

It would be easy to dismiss this as superstitious nonsense, especially considering we were in the heart of Don Quixote country. Up until 1837, when Theodore Schwann discovered that yeasts were necessary to the process of fermentation, winemakers tended to be a superstitious bunch. The yeasts that are necessary to magically transform grape juice into alcoholic wine are naturally present in the air in wine producing regions, but were to all intents and purposes invisible to our forebears.

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