Great wine, sours quickly after opening

Winemaking Talk - Winemaking Forum

Help Support Winemaking Talk - Winemaking Forum:

keverman

Member
Joined
Oct 27, 2017
Messages
50
Reaction score
25
I have a 2018 Marquette that I grew and made that I am very happy with. It really is a better wine than I ever thought I could make.....but what I have noticed: Upon first opening, it's fantastic and I am so proud of it. :) But as quickly as several hours after opening, and for sure by the very next day, it tastes way more sour and even "maybe" have an ever so slight smell of bandaid....but so slight, I think yes one minute and no the next. I know that may be "brett", but that's the extent of my knowledge. What would be causing this to go south so quickly upon opening? Not terrible...just not the same nice little wine. I tested the SO2 and it was in good range at bottling. Any clues about what's happening? Thanks in advance!!
 

winemaker81

wine dabbler
WMT Supporter
Joined
Nov 5, 2006
Messages
2,067
Reaction score
3,613
Location
Raleigh, NC, USA
I don't have an answer to your question, but suggest a stop-gap solution -- when opening a bottle, gently pour half into a 375 ml bottle and cap it.

Open the 375 the next day and taste. If it's still good, you have a procedure to use when opening future bottles.

Many moons ago I purchased a case of a very nice CA Chardonnay I really liked, and I experienced the same exact thing. At opening it was amazing, but 6 hours later it was oxidized. At this time I was much younger and had numerous friends, so consuming a bottle in less than an hour was not a problem.
 

WellingtonToad

Junior Member
Joined
Dec 27, 2013
Messages
83
Reaction score
18
@keverman "I tested the SO2 and it was in a good range", leaves me with the question of what were / are the numbers. A good range for me is greater than 15 ppm (absolute minimum) of free SO2. Understand that the act of bottling can reduce the level of free SO2.

The sour taste is most likely acetaldehyde. This occurs when unprotected wine is exposed to air. The cure is kmeta, but this gets difficult when you are talking about half a bottle.
The best solution I can see is - "but the guy on winemakingtalk said I had to finish the bottle".;)
 

keverman

Member
Joined
Oct 27, 2017
Messages
50
Reaction score
25
@keverman "I tested the SO2 and it was in a good range", leaves me with the question of what were / are the numbers. A good range for me is greater than 15 ppm (absolute minimum) of free SO2. Understand that the act of bottling can reduce the level of free SO2.

The sour taste is most likely acetaldehyde. This occurs when unprotected wine is exposed to air. The cure is kmeta, but this gets difficult when you are talking about half a bottle.
The best solution I can see is - "but the guy on winemakingtalk said I had to finish the bottle".;)
I don't have an answer to your question, but suggest a stop-gap solution -- when opening a bottle, gently pour half into a 375 ml bottle and cap it.

Open the 375 the next day and taste. If it's still good, you have a procedure to use when opening future bottles.

Many moons ago I purchased a case of a very nice CA Chardonnay I really liked, and I experienced the same exact thing. At opening it was amazing, but 6 hours later it was oxidized. At this time I was much younger and had numerous friends, so consuming a bottle in less than an hour was not a problem.
Thank you, I never thought of the half bottle idea. I have definitely committed to only opening what I know will get enjoyed immediately!
 

keverman

Member
Joined
Oct 27, 2017
Messages
50
Reaction score
25
@keverman "I tested the SO2 and it was in a good range", leaves me with the question of what were / are the numbers. A good range for me is greater than 15 ppm (absolute minimum) of free SO2. Understand that the act of bottling can reduce the level of free SO2.

The sour taste is most likely acetaldehyde. This occurs when unprotected wine is exposed to air. The cure is kmeta, but this gets difficult when you are talking about half a bottle.
The best solution I can see is - "but the guy on winemakingtalk said I had to finish the bottle".;)
Thanks for your reply. Lacking SO2 testing equipment at the time, I sent a sample in to Lodi labs before bottling. Then I followed an additions chart to add what it said was needed for a wine of my pH. That being said, I had no way of retesting to confirm. “Numbers were in range” was probably an assumption that may not have been a good one! I do have the testing equipment now, so I should be able to avoid in the future. I’m glad to know that’s the problem moving forward…easy to avoid. In the mean time, if I open the 2018….drink up, buttercup!
 

Rice_Guy

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 29, 2014
Messages
1,910
Reaction score
1,761
Location
Food Industry - - Retired
There is “reductive” chemistry when wine is in a bottle. This can be modified when air/ oxygen is added to the wine. The general descriptors for reductive wine are fruity, more acidic/ sharp.
The opposite is oxidation, less fruity, smoother on a tannic wine. The change of redox potential can be instantaneous, as by using a wine aerator when pouring a red wine.
Acetaldehyde is a chemical oxidation of the ethyl alcohol. My descriptor is burn on the back of the throat. Acetaldehyde should take a few weeks to form.

Try using a Vacuvin Vacuum cap.
 
Last edited:

keverman

Member
Joined
Oct 27, 2017
Messages
50
Reaction score
25
There is “reductive” chemistry when wine is in a bottle. This can be modified when air/ oxygen is added to the wine. The general descriptors for reductive wine are fruity, more acidic/ sharp.
The opposite is oxidation, less fruity, smoother on a tannic wine. The change of redox potential can be instantaneous, as by using a wine aerator when pouring a red wine.
Acetaldehyde is a chemical oxidation of the ethyl alcohol. My descriptor is burn on the back of the throat. Acetaldehyde should take a few weeks to form.

Try using a Vacuvin Vacuum cap.
What would be the fix to avoid moving forward?
 

winemaker81

wine dabbler
WMT Supporter
Joined
Nov 5, 2006
Messages
2,067
Reaction score
3,613
Location
Raleigh, NC, USA
@Rice_Guy's chemistry is typically spot-on, so acetaldehyde sounds less likely, although I'd not rule it out completely. Try aerating the wine. If that speeds up the ill-effect, it provides solid evidence that air is the source of the problem. Assuming that is it, using a vacu-vin on the remainder of the bottle is also a good choice.

@keverman, what do you consider good levels of SO2? A lot of folks appear to minimize SO2 levels. IMO that is a mistake, unless one of the frequent drinkers is sensitive and/or allergic to SO2. Higher levels of SO2 prevents problems.

SO2 works by binding to contaminants, including O2, so it gets used up. I'm in favor of higher levels of SO2 during bulk aging to eliminate contaminants before bottling. I don't do SO2 testing -- I add 1/4 tsp for 5/6 gallons wine at each racking, every 3 months during bulk aging, and at bottling. A former girlfriend with a really sensitive nose could never detect SO2 in my wines, although she did in some commercial wines, so I'm comfortable that my process is fine.

IMO the "at bottling" is critical as that's all the SO2 the wine will have for the remainder of its lifespan. Will this prevent the current problem from happening again? I can't promise that, but it will prevent other problems.
 

Rice_Guy

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 29, 2014
Messages
1,910
Reaction score
1,761
Location
Food Industry - - Retired
Your issue is correlated with air exposure which fits in the wine culture and products as wine preserver (argon spray) or the VacuVin (vacuum pump). So this is where I would start looking. As @winemaker81 says a sample in a jar, shake to incorporate oxygen. Note you may be more sensitive to this defect than the average drinker or even judge.

If you are dealing with acetaldehyde the only answer is to prevent it starting with SO2 and good head space/ dissolved oxygen as in racking control and possibly a sacrificial tannin as FR Rouge or Blanc Soft
I feel I am still on the learning curve as far as redox potential of the wine. I have not experienced a lot of the defect. ,,, A few years back I started to assume that the free SO2 was zero (ie I must have sloppy technique) and just routinely added 50 ppm. Much of what I make is fruit wines and my best production trick has been to hide acetaldehyde ex. apricot added to Gwurtztraimer or putting in crab apple with a large tannin bite. In the vinters club we are working with whites to fight off flavors (called fried chicken) (my guess is that translates to sulfur/ match). ,,,
Looking at old literature there was a correlation between iron and copper ion contamination (process equipment) and rapid off flavor development. ,,,
Humm ,,,
 

Rice_Guy

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 29, 2014
Messages
1,910
Reaction score
1,761
Location
Food Industry - - Retired
This post evaluates ten webinars,, “BOOK REVIEWs” related to air exposure (AKA redox potential) while making wine. Negative as well as favorable quality changes are described for introduced oxygen. The selections are intended to present info about how and why flavors changes and what industry does (home winemakers could consider) to improve quality. Again ~OPINIONs~ are in italic, followed by the link to the specific webinar and any description from the author.
- - - - - - - - - - - -
An excellent first look at the effect of oxygen in a wines quality. It covers effects from a wide range of practices as tannin addition , splash racking, dissolved oxygen, temperature effects, gas/ nitrogen flushing and tools as oxygen transmission rate or the redox meter used to find where damage is happening, and what the change means on the finished wine’s flavor. Scott Labs like AWRI point at dissolved oxygen as the main culprit for loss of shelf life. A long video but the explanation to what can be improved; 1 hour, 38 min.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ETuExGmNgzE * The Basics of Oxygen Management to Preserve Wine Quality: We are excited to announce the next episode in our new Scott Labs webinar series hosted by our very own Darren Michaels. Join us for a short presentation and Q&A with special guest speaker Luke Holcombe where we will be discussing the other side of finished wine quality: oxygen management. Topics will include: - What could go wrong? Oxygen-Related Faults - Bottling and Packaging Concerns - Oxygen Management Concepts and Techniques
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

This is a second look at oxygen exposure and risk analysis, again excellent. I found it interesting to have data which gave examples of what level of oxygen could be picked up in processes as racking or with a variety of closure types. I lust for one of the DO meters pictured. A final theme- we can extend wine quality into years by fixing at how much life we lose early in the winery processes. 1 hour, 7 minutes
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sn7Lxq4ynN4 * Dissolved Oxygen: Why it’s Important and how to Implement a Management Program: Luke Holcombe, Scott Labs Field Sales Rep., Dissolved oxygen is the driver behind many of the most common stability and spoilage issues facing winemakers. Its negative synergistic relationship with sulfur dioxide, the role it plays with volatile sulfur defects, and microbial interactions make it worthy of attention. In this webinar, we will discuss its effects, easy to implement mitigation and removal strategies, and discuss “bottle shock” as well as “barrel shock”.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

This video is about half chemistry and half treatments which can be tried to change reductive flavors. Ie sulfides / threshold detection level/ latent sulfur changes (in bottle), YAN prevents yeast from forming sulfide compounds, it is easier to flush SO2 out early with yeast CO2.

* Managing ‘reductive’ aromas in wines; Speaker: Dr Marlize Bekker (The Australian Wine Research Institute) Webinar recorded: 7 November 2019 Additional resources: https://www.awri.com.au/industry_supp... Volatile sulfur compounds (VSCs) are known to cause ‘reductive’ aromas in wine, commonly described as ‘rotten egg’ (hydrogen sulfide), ‘putrefaction’ (methanethiol) and ‘rubber’ (ethanethiol). These compounds play important roles in determining wine aroma, consumer preference and the perception of wine quality. Therefore, the management of VSC concentrations in wines, whether from fermentation or 'other' origins, is an important consideration for winemakers. The main techniques used for VSC removal are oxidative handling and/or copper fining; however, the effectiveness of these treatments may be temporary, as the compounds can often reappear post-bottling when reductive conditions are re-established. This presentation will summarise the latest research on ‘reductive’ aroma formation in wines and discuss practical remediation strategies to manage these characters, 58 minutes (30 min. was Q&A)
- - - - - - - - -
-> -> # six -> -> continued on next page
 

Latest posts

Top