Vi­brant re­sponse

Decanter - - READERS’ QUERIES -

We are en­cour­aged to store wines hor­i­zon­tally in a cool cel­lar with a con­stant tem­per­a­ture of 10°C, that boasts good hu­mid­ity and is ‘free from vi­bra­tion’. How does vi­bra­tion spoil a wine if the other re­quired stor­age el­e­ments are present? Alan God­frey, via email Andy Howard MW replies: Cor­rect stor­age of wine (par­tic­u­larly fine wines) is im­por­tant, with the dan­gers of high tem­per­a­tures, ex­ces­sive vari­a­tion in tem­per­a­ture, low hu­mid­ity and strong light be­ing ob­vi­ous things to avoid. Vi­bra­tion is also a dan­ger, but the sci­ence be­hind this is less easy to un­der­stand. A 2008 work noted that ex­ces­sive vi­bra­tion re­sults in a num­ber of un­de­sir­able is­sues. Vi­bra­tion can dis­turb sed­i­ment present in the bot­tle, but it also causes com­plex chem­i­cal reactions which are less vis­i­ble. Vi­bra­tion (and the re­sult­ing in­creased ki­netic en­ergy in the bot­tle) leads to a de­crease in tar­taric and suc­cinic acids, caus­ing a re­duc­tion in es­ters, which dulls flavours. Vi­bra­tion also in­creases the amount of propanol in a wine (re­duc­ing aro­mat­ics), raises isoamyl al­co­hol (ac­cen­tu­at­ing ace­tone notes) and re­sults in a higher re­frac­tive in­dex, which makes a wine taste sweeter.

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