Wine is living matter, which means just like any other living matter, it is prone to disease. There are many wine defects that are known to most such as the smell of cork in a contaminated wine. But lesser known diseases are many. Let’s get something straight right off the bat – today it is very difficult, but not impossible, that any of the mentioned wine diseases will be found in wines that are marketed and bottled for public consumption. It is always important to get your wine from a vintner or a trusted wine shop in order to ensure quality. The golden rule of buying wine is to always choose retail stores that focus on hygiene in a scrupulous manner. This is the first step to avoid being forced into nasty surprises such as the following:
Floret – Despite its name which could easily make one think of something pleasant, the floret is actually a wine disease caused by yeasts, which mostly affects young, light wines which are kept in containers not fully filled or badly corked. The bacteria of the floret reproduce thanks to the contact of wine with air and for this reason it will be good to verify that the containers are always well filled, sanitized, and at a constant temperature that never exceeds 59 degrees Fahrenheit. If you see a thin clear veil on the surface of the wine, which over time tends to become more and more grayish and almost “fragmented” into small pieces that resemble flower petals (aka florets), your wine needs to be binned.
Acescence – There are two progressive phases of the same wine disease which transforms ethyl alcohol into acetic acid. If this substance reaches a certain level, it is actually prohibited by law to sell and is completely undrinkable. Have you ever heard someone say, “This wine tastes like vinegar!” – well that is usually what happens when a wine is struck with acescence. This can occur when there is excessive contact of wine and air or when wines are stored at too high of temperatures (59 – 68°F).
Tourne – This particular wine disease is a very serious alteration of wine which is difficult if not impossible to find in market wines. It is usually found in wines produced with improvised, non-conventional methods. This wine disease typically effects red wines, turning its color into something dull and cloudy and its taste into something resembling dead yeasts. The cause is usually when unhealthy grapes are used in winemaking or when storage is unsanitary.