It’s shipping season and out of excitement I popped a bottle of a case I had ordered. It was racing with va.
Question: is va a problem that permeates an entire lot? Will I see this through the entire case or can there be bottle variation?

Hopefully its just a bottle variation and not a run of corks that was bad like Cayuse…Pop another and try it and find out for sure

Cork issues won’t cause VA taint. If one bottle is affected, good bet the entire production has some VA issues. Unless, of course, we are talking 1997 Harlan.

Sorry Bill you’re right. Still try another bottle?? At least if it is tainted you can call the winery and let them know…

This can be a side affect of travel shock. I’d give it a month before you open another.

What?! How would travel shock affect the presence of volatile acidity in a wine?

Well, there certainly is an outside chance that a natural cork can have a role in the process. If it is too porous or not holding back oxygen well, this could lead to further oxidation and a possible increase or exposure of elevated levels of volatile acidity.

As others have said, though, it is probably the wine itself and the other bottles may be affected. Do understand, though, that everyone’s threshold for picking up volatile acidity is different, and it may be that one bottle shows slightly higher than your threshold, and the others do not.

Confused? Yep, we all are! :slight_smile:

I think it would be a production issue, since it very often stems from choices the winemaker makes (much like reduction in many wines). Also, people’s tolerance for VA can vary a lot, so one person may find it ‘fresh and lively’ and another ‘sewage swamp juice’. How is your tolerance, or, posing this another way, do you enjoy the wines of Emidio Pepe? [cheers.gif]

I’d contact the seller or winery. If they’re happy to take a return or give a refund, I’d go that route. High likelihood of other bottles having it.

Very good points Larry. I just went through a dinner where 2 wines had VA and only a couple of us even got it [out of 9 and the lone woman did not].

Volatile Acidity is an interesting thing. To me, it is something that appears “off” when opening a bottle. Sure, you can lab test for VA, but that is not what the consumer is facing when opening a bottle they are looking forward to.

In my experience, and from what I have read when delving into this “mystery,” is that VA blows off. As in, if you leave the bottle or decanter open, that factor which is troubling dissipates. It can take days. As opposed to TCA (corked) which increases as it is open. Suspect TCA? Leave it open and it will reveal itself.

I once attended a great seminar on “Post-bottling Wine Defects.” I do not recall them addressing VA. But perhaps that was because it was a pre-bottling wine defect. I would guess that if one bottle showed VA, then other bottles from that production would, as well.

Opened a second bottle tonight. Same result.
Funny as my threshold for tca is not high(my wife can be off put by the slightest) but va bothers me
Thank all for your input

Sorry. I expected you to say that, but we are all still learning.

Even many professional wine critics seem oblivious to VA, i.e. Laube, Parker, Steiman. That caused me to disregard their red wine ratings starting at least 25 years ago. Wine makers, OTH, can be incredibly sensitive. That doesn’t mean they necessarily disapprove of a bit of VA lift, but I imagine that in a fermentation vat it could just about knock you out.

P Hickner

It wouldn’t. That makes absolutely no sense.

In my experience and from what I know, VA (and the related EA) don’t blow off. There may be an initial hit as pouring helps volatilize some of it and it may become less noticeable as the wine opens up. But, it’s all through the wine and will continue to emerge just like the aromatic compounds we enjoy.


VA is a problem that permeates the entire state! Look, you live in CA, so why are you buying wine that is made in VA?

VA won’t blow off…in fact, once the bottle is open, the ratio/amt of alcohol, acetic acid (VA), and ethyl acetate (EA) is pretty constant (because of oxidation & reduction between alc, VA and EA), with the VA & EA levels almost always being higher than they were in bottle. EA (nail polish remover) is mostly what you smell, when comments about VA in a wine are made (VA/AceticAcid smells sharp, but not nearly as offensive/detectable as EA is).

Al and Eric - thanks for the correction. Not what I have understood or experienced, but you are far more scientifically oriented than I!

So what is that that blew off the bottle of Cameron that Richard Trimpi opened for me in NY? “Oooh, what’s that smell?”

This is more consistent with my experience. If you get blatant EA/nail polish remover when you open the bottle, it doesn’t really go away. When people say it “blew off,” they may simply have become desensitized to it with repeated sniffs and tastes.