Winemaking can be a delicate process, and there are several common problems that can arise and cause wine to go wrong. Some of the most common winemaking disasters include:
- Oxidation: When wine is exposed to too much air, it can oxidize, causing a flat, dull, and sometimes sour taste. This can occur during the winemaking process or during storage.
- Brettanomyces: Brettanomyces is a yeast that can cause spoilage in wine, leading to off-flavors such as barnyard, leather, or band-aid.
- Acetobacter: Acetobacter is a bacterium that can cause wine to spoil and turn into vinegar. This typically occurs when wine is exposed to too much air or stored in an environment that is too warm.
- Vinegar Bacteria: Like Acetobacter, vinegar bacteria can also cause wine to spoil and turn into vinegar. This typically occurs when wine is exposed to too much air or stored in an environment that is too warm.
- Sulfite Overdose: Sulfites are commonly used as a preservative in winemaking, but too much sulfite can lead to an overdose, causing the wine to taste bitter and medicinal.
- Heat Damage: Heat damage can occur during the winemaking process or during storage, causing the wine to taste flat, dull, and sometimes bitter.
- Cork Taint: Cork taint is a common problem in bottled wine, where the wine is contaminated by a chemical called 2,4,6-trichloroanisole (TCA), which is produced by fungi growing on the cork. This can cause the wine to taste musty, damp, or like wet cardboard.
Preventing these winemaking disasters requires careful attention to detail throughout the winemaking process, including proper sanitation, temperature control, and avoiding excessive exposure to air. By taking the necessary precautions, winemakers can help ensure that their wine turns out as they intended, and avoid common winemaking disasters.