To be able to enjoy the wines we have today, additives would have to be used. These additives help preserve the taste and quality of the wine, while prolonging its shelf life at the same time. It is no secret that it takes more than good quality grapes to create a good bottle. However, it is also true that there are instances when these additives create undesirable results. Here are the additives that you can find in a wine.
The use of sulfur goes way back to the Romans when they discovered that when you burn candles made of sulfur inside empty wine containers, it allows it to last longer. It prevents the wine from easily becoming stale and create a vinegar smell. This practice echoes right into the present with sulfur dioxide now considered to be an indespensable additive in wine making.
Sulfur dioxide is used for its antimicrobial and antioxidant properties. It is used to get rid of the bacteria and yeast during the wine making process. The beautiful art requires a delicate and careful process. And when it comes to adding sulfur dioxide, it is important that it is done at the right time. The timing and amount of this additive will depend on the style of the wine and also the composition of the wine to which it is added. This process can be a bit tricky for novice wine makers, and if it is done improperly, the results can be as bad as it is beneficial.
Some countries require wine producers to specify the presence of sulfur if it exceeds a certain amount. The reason why these laws are passed because it also protects some consumers who are sensitive to sulfur. Sulfur dioxide is also known to be food additive 220 or 202.
Sulfur is indeed an integral part of the wine, as it prevents the proliferation of undesirable results created by bacteria and yeast. It also safeguards the fruit integrity of the wine.
Tannin is also an important part of the wine to give it structure, taste and overall goodness. Tannin is a naturally occuring polyphenol that is found in plants, leaves, bark, seeds, wood and, in this case, fruit skin. When it comes to defining a wine’s characteristic, tannin adds bitterness and some astringency to the wine resulting to its complexity in flavours and structure.
Oak aging adds some amount of tannin after the wine is exposed to oak wood. That is why wine makers sometimes add oak extracts to enhance the flavour and adjust the tannins. So aside from the tannins derived from the grape skin, the juices are also exposed to wood tannins while they are stored in oak barrels during fermentation. Instead of aging in pure oak barrels, some wine makers use oak chips, oak staves or tannin powders because these are more affordable and sustainable. Today, instead of aging the wines in oak barrels, oak chips are much prefered by wine makers because aside from the cheaper cost in transport, it is also better for the forests.
This compound comes from single celled plants that consume the sugar form grapes and transform it into equal parts of alcohol and carbon dioxide. Some experts say that although the wine maker makes certain that the wine doesn’t get spoiled and also introduce some characteristics to the wine, it is actually the yeast that is slowly creating the wine. But it would take a good wine maker to properly control the yeast, select the right variety and introduce it to the grape juices at the right moment. Controlling the yeast and manipulating its presence during the fermentation is essential to making a good wine.
There are different kinds of yeasts used in wine making, but each of these have their own benefits that is dependent on the wine variety.
Sugar is also added to grape juice during the wine making process in order to increase its final alcohol level. This is called chaptalization. It is not done to make the wine sweeter but rather to increase the final alcohol level of the finished product. When sugar is added to wine, it is then consumed by the yeast as it ferments into alcohol. This is particulalry beneficial for grapes that are struggling to reach full ripeness. This process can add up to a total of 3% ABV to the wine.
However, you also would have to note that adding sugar is not allowed in some American states, Southern France, Australia, Argentina and South Africa.
Aside from sulfur, there are also other microorganisms that are important for stabilizing the wine. Dimethyl dicarbonate or DMDC is used to not only stabilize the wine but also sterilize it. This plays an important part in the microbial defense strategy of wines, hampering chances of microbiological activity after bottling. This is what you call secondary fermentation resulting in flavors and aromas that are off, formation of sediments and viscosity. DMDC is a poisonous substance within the hour that is is added, but it then hydrolyzed half an hour after it is added.
Acetaldehyde is also another stabilizer which focuses on the juices before it is concentrated. It is also known as an important molecule in the oxidation of wine, and it also acts as a preservative.
There are also other additives used by wine makers that simply remove undesirable characteristics out of the wine.
Grape juices and wine have naturally occuring particles that result from the winemaking process. This includes compounds like tannins from oak aging in barrels. This affects the clarity of the wine as evidenced by sediments forming in the bottle. This helps clarify the juice or the wine.
Albumen or egg white
This serves as a fining agent for red wines and has long been in practice. Albumen softens the astrigency of the wine as it binds and reduces the tannin content. This is why it is perfect for highly tannic or oak-aged wines.
This is a very pure gelatin that is derived from the air bladders of sturgeons. It is also a popular fining agent that strips the color of the wine into a much lesser hue. This is used in clarifying white wines, especially those that are aged in oak barrels. However, it tends to create heavy deposits that clings to carbon alloy glass walls.
This is a clay that has absoptive properties. It binds to suspended particles that are oppositely charged and also leads it to precipitate. Bentonite is used in clarifying both red and white wines, although it is much useful for white wines in particular. It prevents the haze that is caused by naturally occuring proteins found in the grape juice. It also prevents color reduction and the process of over-fining. Its effectiveness makes it most preferable among winemakers. However, its disadvantage is that the heavy deposits caused by the precipitate also means there is more wine loss.
This fining agent comes from the alginic acid salt that is found in brown algae. It is very effective in settling fine suspended particles. It is more recommended for red wines, but it can also be used in whites.
This is considered to be an excellent fining agent for both white and red wines. It is a silicate suspension that binds to proteins. It is often combined with gelatin to increase its effectiveness.
These information may be quite daunting what with all the complex process that goes behind these chemicals or compounds. If you are not familiar with these fining agents, you can perform a bench test. The effectiveness of these fining agents is evidenced in its pH, wine composition, temperature, rate of addition and a bevy of other factors. You can also see the effect of these fining agents on the general color of the wine, its aromas and flavours. Performing bench tests allows you to learn a lot and further distinguish and appreciate good wines from the bad.
The Standish Singapore provides you with excellent vintage wines from around the world. We aim to give every curious palate a chance to revel in the sensory pleasure of good wine.
http://www.thestandish.com.sg The Standish Singapore provides you with excellent vintage wines from around the world. We aim to give every curious palate a chance to revel in the sensory pleasure of good wine.
Author Bio: The Standish Singapore provides you with excellent vintage wines from around the world. We aim to give every curious palate a chance to revel in the sensory pleasure of good wine.
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