The Vicinal Diphenol Cascade and a Pre Harvest Panic!

In my dim and distant past, I used to be a Chemistry student. I suspect that I had chosen chemistry as a degree because I found it relatively easy in school and I quite liked the idea of burning stuff and exploding things (Belfast born and bred…), however at uni I pretty much hated it as a subject. It became rapidly clear that I couldn’t care less how to hydrolyse an acetal or intercalate graphite, I’d much rather be down the tea room eating cake. So that’s what I did. Imagine my shock last week that after 25 years of me feeling smug about never needing it at all, I suddenly need it. And I dont remember a single thing about it.

So, help me out, and please explain to me why the Acetaldehyde curve inverts during fermentation yet the Acetoin curve flattens. Eh? I’m sure that its probably important, but I have no idea why.

The acetoin curve doing its flattening thing. Almost as fascinating as the vicinal diphenol cascade

The best aspect of all this is that I get to build a mini lab and buy horribly expensive bits of kit. Hopefully one day I will get some time off and be able to make some burny, explody stuff too.

 As you can see, the lab is completely sterile, highly organised, and full of explody things

If I make it through the next 3 weeks without combusting myself, I actually think we are going to make some wine. The petit manseng is looking good (from 2 separate vineyards in different terroirs in Jurancon), the vats and barrels are all clean, I own a pair of Australian winery boots,  the press presses stuff, and only a few of the pipes and tubes and unions and reductions leak. If I had one word of advice for a budding winemaker, its to spend a couple of years with a plumber learning how to join stuff together that never had any inclination of being attached to anything else. I may have a degree in chemistry, but I’m way more knowledgeable about the pros and cons of rubber washers vs fibre washers vs teflon tape.

With a bit of luck then, the next update from me will include some harvest and fermentation piccies! Oh yeah, Full on panic mode!

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