There is some very
interesting information that I have discovered from being behind the
scenes in winery production. For one thing, the presence of spoilage
products in wine is more prevalent than I would have imagined and may
be the reason many people drink beer rather that be assaulted with unfamiliar
The most pervasive spoilage product is vinegar, referred
to in winery jargon as volatile ethyl acetate, or just VA.
Vinegar is the typical end product from the fermentation of wine. Eventually,
all wine ends up as vinegar, but winemakers forestall the inevitable
by adding a preservative, sulphur dioxide gas, to the wine. Even though
sulphur dioxide is an essential ingredient of all wine, its use must
be identified on the label. Of course it can be overused to the extent
that it is damaging to the taste just like the vinegar it is trying
Some wineries get an occasional lot of wine with a noticeable amount
of VA in it and they just merge that lot into the blend
and sometimes actually use it as a flavor element.