- Sanitation enables winemakers to control what their wine comes into contact with
- Peracetic acid sanitisers break down to hydrogen peroxide and acetic acid
- Acetic acid is one of the primary causes of VA
Peracetic acid smells like ants, breaks down into acetic acid and could result in your wine smelling like nail polish remover.
The need for sanitation has never been greater - however without the right tool for the job your wine may be suffering. Protecting your wine with a sanitiser is best practice hygiene. However the use of sanitisers that contain peracetic acid can result in an inadvertent acetic acid addition - increasing the risk of volatile acidity (VA).
Sanitation is important. We strongly recommend that every winery implements high quality sanitation protocols. Good hygiene through a fully built cleaning agent and a sanitiser (that won’t taint wine) will reduce the risk of unwanted bacteria yeast and microbes taking hold in your wine. Ultimately it protects your investment. Chemical products used in the cellar for cleaning and sanitation that taint wine increase the likelihood of wine spoilage through human error.
The wine industry needs skilled labour to produce wine. This reliance on staff means there is an inherent risk of mishaps. Mistakes are made - especially when workers become tired during busy periods like vintage. If peracetic acid sanitisers come into contact with wine the net result is an addition of acetic acid to your wine. This poses a significant problem.
Adding acetic acid to any wine is concerning. Basic organic chemistry tells us that peracetic acid will break down into hydrogen peroxide and acetic acid (Bird, 2010 p216). The hydrogen peroxide will form water and oxygen. The acetic acid is something that winemakers are almost universally trying to prevent coming into contact with their wine. This is because of the risk of taint through VA.
One of the primary causes of VA is acetic acid (the acid of vinegar). Although acetic acid is a natural component of wine, an oversupply of acetic acid can lead to wine spoilage (Bird, 2010 p255). If a wine does have acetic acid issues this can lead to further work in filtration, reverse osmosis or having to isolate and blend the affected wine. This takes time and further increases the cost input into finished wine.
The AWRI states in their report “Wine Bacteria - Friend or Foes” that there is a high risk of spoilage caused by acetic acid bacteria during prolonged barrel maturation and poor management (of acetic acid) during bottling and storage of red wine (AWRI Wine Industry Journal, 2009). Acetic acid bacteria are also able to survive in ethanol and sugar rich environments (Bartowsky and Henschke, 2008). The use of a sanitiser during these periods reduces the risk of further unwanted bacteria, yeast and microbes coming into contact with wine. However peracetic acid based sanitisers increase the risk of inadvertently making an acetic acid addition to your wine - especially if a single pass rinse is not completed properly.
Acetic acid bacteria have been shown to contribute to volatile acidity in wine must and the production of acetic acid can contribute to sluggish or stuck ferments also (Du Toit and Lambrechts, 2002). Peracetic acid presents a risk that can be avoided easily through the use of chemicals that will not taint. This eliminates the risk of human error in the cellar and gives winemakers some assurance that spoilage through VA will not be caused through chemicals used on site.
We don’t believe products that can taint wine should be utilised in wine production. As such we would recommend any of our sanitisers (which can be viewed here), Destainex or Destainex LF will provide effective sanitising and will not taint your wine. Give them a go - your wine will thank you for it!
Bartowsky, E.J. and Henschke, P.A. (2008) "ACETIC ACID BACTERIA SPOILAGE OF BOTTLED RED WINE - A REVIEW",International Journal of Food Microbiology 125, 60-70.
Bird D, (2010), “UNDERSTANDING WINE TECHNOLOGY” third edition, p72, p138, p139
Du Toit, W.J. et al (2002) "THE ENUMERATION AND IDENTIFICATION OF ACETIC ACID BACTERIA FROM SOUTH AFRICAN RED WINE FERMENTATION'", In International Journal of Food Microbiology, vol. 74, 2002, p. 57– 64.
Eveline J. Bartowsky,et al (2009), “WINE BACTERIA - FRIEND OF FOES” - AWRI Report, March/April 2009, Vol 24 NO 2, Wine Industry Journal
Kantor et al (2013)“LACTIC ACID AND ACETIC ACID BACTERIA ISOLATED FROM RED WINE”, Journal of Microbiology, Biotechnology and Food Sciences (special edition) pp1704-1715