Strange taste in wines fermented from juice buckets...

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Landwaster

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I'm looking to see if anyone has had a similar experience:

Several years ago we fermented from juice buckets. I remember those wines had a strange taste to them that I would describe as a slight chemical or plastic-like taste. Whatever it was, it made the wines pretty much undrinkable (to my palate at least). But not everyone in the family could taste it.

This year we fermented from grapes as usual but ended up with less juice than expected and weren't able to fill our barrel, so we bought several cab juice buckets for blending in. When I tasted those wines recently (before blending) they had that same off-putting taste. My cousin agreed so I know it's not just me.

Is this something anyone else has experienced? I believe both times it was "Imperial Must" brand, but different varieties. Perhaps it a brand issue?
 

franc1969

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I've heard people say they could taste 'plastic' from a bucket, I cannot. Where is this from, I don't know the branding. Was this hot press? Were the other buckets also cabernet sauvignon? Could it be the grapes themselves?
 

Landwaster

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It looks like Mosto Imperiatore is actually manufactured in Canada with Italian grapes/juice. I don't think it would be the grapes, considering that they were different varieties and different years, at least 5 years apart. So my suspicion is perhaps it is the buckets themselves or some sort of equipment contamination.
 

Rocky

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I don't know if this could be the cause of your problems but freshly molded plastic items, such as the juice buckets, have various levels of "outgassing" from the polymer. This tends to dissipate over time but if the buckets were newly molded and used, they could be contributing to the problem. Different plastics have varying levels of outgassing. You should be able to determine what polymer was used by looking at the bottom of the bucket. There should be a triangle with a number inside of it and some letters under the triangle. The letters are an abbreviation for the polymer.

I would also recommend contacting the supplier or the producer of the juice to see if they have any insight in the matter.
 

Landwaster

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They are #2 HDPE Ropak buckets. I also noticed today that the taste can be smelled slightly in the wine.

Wonder if an aggressive racking might help dispel whatever it is?
 

Rice_Guy

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any buckets “manufactured” in Canada with Italian grape would be juice that is repacked from a bulk container in Canada. Risk if spoilage and cost of freight make it basically uneconomical to ship fresh grape. There is fresh grape from Argentina which is shipped north, most of it winds up in the winter table grape market.
It looks like Mosto Imperiatore is actually manufactured in Canada with Italian grapes/juice.
. So my suspicion is perhaps it is the buckets themselves or some sort of equipment contamination.
buckets/ virgin plastic is possible, equipment is unlikely since a press working in the bucket market also would be used at times for juice in the local wine industry.
 

franc1969

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I hadn't seen the last comment - 'manufactured' juice could surely do it. Excess sulfites or strange blending of concentrate, or who knows? If you taste something don't use the juice, if you don't it will be fine.
 
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