Analysis Request – Wine
Wine is a complex blend of water, alcohol, sugars, organic acids, and various ions – the basic wine components. However, as we know throughout the winemaking process many other components are produced contributing to the colour, aroma, flavour and tannins of the wine. Pairing your traditional winemaking methods with up-to-date techniques allows optimization of processes and ensures quality final products. This can be achieved by knowing and understanding the chemistry of your wine from the juice stage to the finished product.
Different chemical analyses are required at various stages in the winemaking process. After alcoholic fermentation the stability of wine can be monitored by measuring the volatile acidity of the wine and the pH. Should the wine have to undergo malolactic fermentation, post alcoholic fermentation analysis should include volatile acidity and malolactic fermentation. Once malolactic fermentation is complete, sulphur levels should be monitored and adjusted to desirable amounts. Vinlab also offers several stability tests when it’s time to get your wine ready for bottling, followed by all the necessary post bottling checks to put your mind at ease.
Timing and temperature are critical elements in the winemaking process. Sulphur additions, for instance, cannot take place until malolactic fermentations are complete, however sulphur is the main component ensuring wine is microbiologically protected keeping volatile acidities low. Knowing and understanding the chemistry of your wine while in tanks and barrels, therefore, gives you as the winemaker the insight to intervene where and when necessary.
The frequency of testing is directly dependent on where you are in your winemaking process. Throughout alcoholic and malolactic fermentation tanks and barrels should be tested more frequently, particularly if sulphur additions still need to take place. Once wines are stable monthly quality checks can be performed. Wines undergoing any additions should be tested before and after additions take place. Whereas, once wines are bottle ready only one pre- and post-bottling test is required.
As with the frequency of testing when to test is also dependent on where you are in the winemaking process. Tests used to monitor the progress of your fermentation naturally should occur throughout the fermentation process. Stability tests should take place before bottling. A range of other tests can be performed should problems arise (e.g 4-EP/4-EG, TCA, etc.)
Everyone involved in these critical first stages of the winemaking process, whether an assistant winemaker, winemaker or cellar master.