Behind the Scenes in a Winery

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 wine tastes.

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 to prevent.

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.


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