Wine Faults

Edited by Shivangi Srivastava


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Has it occurred to you that you have opened a bottle of wine and it has a foul smell coming out of it? Or the taste of the wine has gone completely off even before you poured out your first glass out the bottle. Incidents like these are generally associated with wine faults and these are quite common. Although winemaker takes care not to have any such faults, sometimes these faults occur due to external factors. Let’s see what some common faults of wine are.

A corked smell

Most often than not this fault occurs at the source of the raw material where a moldy cork is used for bottling of wine. Sometimes it is due to the storage of the corks which leads to the problem. At many times, cork is tainted due to an element called TCA (Trichloroanisole). This occurs due to bleaching of corks with chlorine which then develops small pockets of moisture and allows fungi to grow and compromise the cork.

 A smell of sulphur

Sulphur dioxide (SO2) is used as an anti-oxidant and antiseptic and excessive amount gives the wine smell of burnt matchstick head. White wine does not have any protective tannins and the concentration of SO2 is higher than in the red wine. This is done to prevent the oxidation within the wine. If you ever drink an SO2 high wine, you will have a burning and itchy sensation on your nose and earthy taste in the mouth.

The smell of rotten eggs

Ever heard the expression that a wine smells like a “Wet Dog”? This is probably because of the high concentration of sulphides during the treating of wine. Grapes have traces of Hydrogen Sulphide (H2S) in small quantity and once in contact with the air, in warmer climates, give a smell similar to rotten eggs. The wet dog smell is generally due to the presence mould created by mercaptans and sulphur dioxide, which is added to the finished wine to prevent it from oxidation.

Smells like vinegar

This is the most common fault which you will hear people say about a wine. This usually happens when a wine is exposed to oxygen for a long period of time. This may happen due to improper sealing of the wine bottle or bottles being stored in an upright position for a long period of time. In the case of the latter, cork shrinks and allows air to seep in and resulting in macro-oxygenation.

Smells humid/musty

This fault is mainly due to the damp cellars or spaces lacking proper ventilation or cleanliness of the area. The poor maintenance of storage facilities like old tanks, vats, or container not being adequately sterilized creates this problem, as fungi start to develop. In appearance, the wine will look normal but will give off a mouldy smell and pronounced humid or musty taste.

I hope this might have helped you assess your wine a bit further and choose the potable wine from the rest. If you are enjoying the content, please show support by giving feedback and comments on the article.

Stay tuned for last wine blog!


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