With harvest coming to an end in most regions of Australia, many of you will be happy to put the challenges of this growing season behind you! Primary and secondary fermentations are now in full swing which brings a new set of challenges, such as producing wines without excessive levels of spoilage compounds.

Three compounds that can impart undesirable characteristics to a wine are acetic acid (vinegar character), acetaldehyde (bruised apple character) and ethyl acetate (nail polish remover character). All three compounds are produced via chemical and microbial processes during and after fermentation, usually below spoilage levels. Certain conditions, however, can lead to increased production of these compounds.

These include botrytis infection, extreme fermentation temperatures, high pH, the timing of sulfur dioxide additions, large populations of native yeasts and bacteria, and exposure to oxygen, post fermentation.

Vintessential is NATA accredited to analyse wine and juice samples for acetic acid, acetaldehyde and ethyl acetate. These parameters will indicate the extent of wine spoilage and, when analysed together, will help you diagnose potential processing issues.

For more information on these tests, contact your nearest Vintessential lab.