Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Diacetyl In Wine

Diacetyl In Wine - To Sniff or not to Sniff...Diacetyl in Your Wine! Ah.. that wonderful process called malolactic fermentation (MLF) may be in trouble with health authorities. Grapes grown in cool climates typically produce high-acid wines. MLF was originally developed in Burgundy to smooth out and make their high acid Chardonnays more palatable. Lactic acid bacteria(LAB) convert tart malic acid into a softer lactic acid. However in warm grape growing regions in the "New World" such as California and Australia wines tend to be low-acid and when a wine maker employs MLF, magically Diacetyl turns up. Diacetyl is a chemical byproduct that produces the typical aroma of real butter, so prized by New World Chardonnay lovers. Producing this chemical cocktail with LAB

is not without risks and sometimes undesirable results show up. The Iowa State University's Midwest Grape and Wine Industry Institute has a good description of possible problems.
But it is Diacetyl itself that is potentially a health hazard. Ever heard of "popcorn lung"? It turns out that workers in popcorn factories are in danger of getting this condition. Bronchiolitis obliterans (popcorn lung) is caused by exposure to Diacetyl. Currently the FDA is "carefully considering the safety and regulatory issues raised by the use of Diacetyl". Can't you just see it now? Compulsory warnings on the back of all Chardonnay labels stating that "sniffing this Chardonnay may cause more than just sniffles". Of course wine makers could skip the whole MLF process by just adding Bell's butter flavors to their wines.

It seems no matter how many wonderful health benefits wine bestows upon us mere mortal wine drinkers, some misguided bureaucrat has to justify his job by creating another ridiculous regulation. I guess we will never see a label stating that "drinking wine can help prevent tooth decay, gum disease and sore throats".
What next? Would not be surprised that British pubs and restaurants will soon be required to serve wine in glassware with etch marks indicating the "units" of alcohol. Why is everybody picking on wine? Is this a new form of creeping prohibition? Time to sign off and just enjoy another glass of the fruit of the vine.

Diacetyl In Wine Rating: 4.5 Diposkan Oleh: Arm Aritn


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