Love the Wine You're With!

Want to really cause a chemical reaction on Valentine’s Day this year? Who says you can’t take wine into the laboratory? In fact, we highly encourage it! Love can leave us all scratching our heads at times, but accurate lab analysis of this Valentine’s favorite can and should be a sure thing. With the proper instruments and practices in place, you’ll experience true love in the laboratory.

Chemical-Valentines.jpgJust as love takes time to blossom, a fine wine must also pass certain checkpoints in the analysis process to evolve into something of value. Sedlescombe Vineyard knows this to be true as they have been mastering the wine-making process since 1979. With a focus on English organic wines, this international award-winning winery implements refractometry and pH measurement at critical points from when the grape is still on the vine to after it has been picked and is being crafted into a delicious concoction. “We use a digital refractometer to monitor grape ripeness to make sure we harvest at the optimum time, and then we look to balance the pH using a high-precision EcoSense®  pH Pen as it is capable of measuring to two decimal places, which helps us to strike the right balance between acidity and sweetness,” explained owner and winemaker Roy Cook. “Sugar content and pH is paramount to creating a good wine, and getting this right from the outset is of utmost importance.”

Another thing love has in common with wine: having space (or oxygen, in wine’s case) is crucial to aging together harmoniously. Careful with granting your vino too much O2, though, as it can be detrimental to the overall wine quality. The J. Lohr Winery in San Jose, CA, consistently strives to minimize and control oxygen exposure to their premium wines throughout their winemaking process by using a handheld dissolved oxygen (DO) instrument. To learn more about this, read our application note: J. Lohr Winery Utilizes YSI Instruments in Managing Dissolved Oxygen.

Wine-glass_no-background.jpgFinally, let’s embrace the notion that in any relationship, a little bit of outside influence can go a long way, whether good or bad. Similarly with wine, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are the external force that constitutes a wine’s profile. These chemicals, even at small concentrations, can greatly affect the flavor and aroma of a wine. If you’ve ever used descriptors such as buttery, a hint of oak, peppery, etc., when discussing wine, you’ve experienced the effect of VOCs. Learn more about how VOCs in wine can be analyzed in the lab by reading our app note: Analysis of Volatile Organic Compounds in Wine by Purge and Trap Concentration and Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry (GC/MS).

We don’t have a perfect potion when it comes to love. However, wine analyses can be accurately achieved through using a mix of laboratory instruments at precise times during the winemaking process. Just remember in love and wine: timing is everything, balance is critical, too much space/oxygen can be detrimental, and outside elements (even in small doses) play a huge role in the end result. Cheers and happy Valentine’s Day!