Why many Chemists are shitty winemakers! -a generalization of course.
This is a generalization but it holds true in my experience. Why? Because these guys love to fuck up wine. They think they can always fix a wine or change a wine with their damn chemical background. Most don’t have a refined palate—or even if they do they always think they can create a better wine with a little tartaric here and some Calcium Carbonate, potassium carbonate/bicarbonate. This is such a shitty way to make wine. These are just a few examples, but my god, there are so many people, especially at big wineries, which add all kinds of shit. While I can understand additions at these gigantic wineries, only because they are adding to such big lots that the effect isn’t what it would be at smaller ones. I’ve met these bumbling idiots that own or make wine for small wineries and these dickheads love to talk numbers to you. They’ll tell you that they adjusted this and that (some—most like to keep it secret.). But for those inept winemakers at small wineries who insist on adding shit to make their shit smell better—I say fuck them. These people that chaptalize (add sugar) outside of Burgundy can kiss my ugly ass. Those people have a special hatred. Get it right in the vineyard you fucktard.
It’s not a secret. When you make good wine it comes from the vineyards. If you work with bad vineyards then you’re going to get bad wines. It’s so simple people forget because they have such arrogance towards their winemaking. “I’m a chemist, so I know I can improve that.” While I’m not fucking chemist, I do have a fucking good palate. And you can tell when they add acid. You can taste it in the finish sometimes or when they use oak chips—you can usually taste that at the very beginning. And while the majority of people don’t taste it, they should fucking worry about it. Personally some of the worst hangovers I’ve had are from bottles that do this shit. Usually they have a high pH so they need to add extra SO2 because they don’t want their wine to spoil. I’d rather use it has vinegar than drink that shit. I’d seriously love to name names but that’s messed up, right? If I had another glass of wine tonight I probably would be. Not tonight. I’ll go to bed wasted and pissed that I didn’t name them.
Let’s get a little Technical!
So there are a few solutions that are a little freaky.
Ion Exchange: This method has been around since the 1950’s—or maybe even earlier. I’ve been told that this method has been used in all kinds in the food & beverage industry, but I sincerely hope not. I do know for a fact that these are used in those giant wine producers. Why? Because it works. Without getting too technical, these have a column filled with resin beads. These columns are usually charged with a damn solution of SULFURIC ACID. Mmm…good. Don’t you like Sulfuric acid? Don’t try this at home! The wine passes through the columns and basically the potassium ions are absorbed and hydrogen ions go into the wine. What does this mean? The pH drop and the total acidity now becomes what you want, numbers wise. No acid was actually added. When you remove all the potassium it alters the acid. Again, only the big boys really know how to do this as it’s a process that, for small wineries & individual barrels is highly unpredictable. Oh, and did I mention that it creates toxic waste? That’s right, you must detoxify it and dispose of it properly—which is way too expensive for any home winemaker. However some of you chemists are probably thinking, well, I could do it, I have a degree in chemistry, etc. Don’t do it. The wine tastes like shit. The big wineries can do this in some small lots (like 30,000 gallons or so), and the small wineries might do this and completely fuck it up, as it can be a trial and error, especially if you’ve never done this before.
*Chemists working on an experiment
Winesecrets’ STARS electrodialysis: This is a commercial company that uses bipolar electrodialysis. The short of it is it that is uses hydrolysis, which separates the water and the alcohol. Some call this reverse osmosis. And personally I know a winery that did do this and it messes with the wine. Just think of it sloshing it around separating and combining it and then think of actually drinking it. This happens way too much! There are specific companies that role their machines (which some can the size of a moving truck) into the winery and not only lower the pH, but take out volatile acidity as well. Ergo it’s ready to drink.
ALL OF THIS HAPPENS BECAUSE THEY CAN’T GET IT RIGHT IN THE VINEYARD(S).
I did forget to mention the small wineries small changes. This means they just add some acid, literally. There are all kinds. Most use some sort of tartaric acid or a blend of tartaric and others. This only changes it a little. This is also a very common practice with smaller and also larger wineries. But this is when they want the aid levels to increase just by a little, as you would need to add literally a ton of this to make an impact like those other methods do. The worst part is that you can definitely taste these additions. They have an artificial or an acid taste in the front palate.
JUST GET IT RIGHT IN THE VINEYARD(S)!!
Please and thank you.