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V&E study selected as a highlight article by ACS Journals. Research published in JAFC by Helene Hopfer, Sue Ebeler, Hildegarde Heymann evaluates chemical and sensory changes in wines during storage.

Hildegarde Heymann, Helene Hopfer and Sue Ebeler

Advice for bag-in-box wine drinkers: Keep it cool

Bag-in-box wines are more likely than their bottled counterparts to develop unpleasant flavors, aromas and colors when stored at warm temperatures, a new study has found. Published in ACS' Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, it emphasizes the importance of storing these popular, economical vintages at cool temperatures.

Helene Hopfer and colleagues explain that compounds in wine react with oxygen in the air to change the way wine looks, tastes and smells. These reactions speed up with increasing temperature. Many winemakers are moving away from the traditional packaging for wine — glass bottles sealed with a natural cork stopper — and trying synthetic corks, screw caps or wine in a plastic bag inside a cardboard box. The scientists wanted to find out how this transition might affect the taste and aroma of wine under different storage conditions.\

Using chemical analysis and a panel of trained tasters, the authors studied how storage at various temperatures affected unoaked California Chardonnay stored for three months in different wine packaging types: natural and synthetic corks, screw caps and two kinds of bag-in-box containers. Storage temperature had the biggest impact on all of the wines. Bag wine stored at 68 and 104 degrees Fahrenheit aged significantly faster than the bottled counterparts, becoming darker and developing vinegar notes. All the wines they tested aged better when stored at 50 degrees F.

You can read “The Combined Effects of Storage Temperature and Packaging Type on the Sensory and Chemical Properties of Chardonnay” at the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry's website.