The top 3 wine questions on Google

1. Can Wine Turn?

Understanding the Phenomenon of Wine Oxidation

Have you ever wondered if wine can undergo a transformation over time? The answer is a resounding yes! In the realm of winemaking, it is entirely possible for wine to "turn" or undergo a process known as oxidation, which can be likened to its demise. This phenomenon occurs when wine is improperly stored or simply when it reaches the end of its aging process.

One key aspect that helps prevent wine from turning is the addition of sulphites. These chemical compounds, derived from sulphur, are commonly used by winemakers to preserve their creations and can be found in the majority of wines, except for 'natural' (preservative free) wines.

Visually identifying a wine that has turned can be done by observing its colour. When white wine undergoes oxidation, it acquires a brownish tint, whereas red wine develops a brownish-orange hue. Alongside this colour change, oxidised wine emits nutty or jam-like aromas (in the case of white wines) or acquires sharp vinegar and unpleasant caramelised odours (in red wines). A distinct "Madeira taste" emerges, characterised by a pronounced bitterness. While consuming a soured wine may not pose a significant health risk like spoiled milk does, it is no longer suitable for a pleasurable tasting experience.

Similar to a soured wine, it is advisable to avoid drinking a "corked wine." In this particular case, the wine has been contaminated by a flaw in its cork, where the cork material itself has been affected by a specific mould or organism. This is why the term "corked" is used to describe such wines. On the nose, it is predominantly a musty, mouldy or earthy smell. Sometimes its sensory perception is also described as burnt rubber, smoky or even camphor-like, which negatively impacts the aroma of an affected wine.

It's important to note that the process of a wine turning or becoming corked is not necessarily indicative of a poorly made wine. Even the most meticulously crafted wines can experience these unfortunate transformations due to a variety of factors, including storage conditions and natural variations in the cork itself.

While wine can indeed turn or become corked, it is crucial to understand that these occurrences are not reflective of the quality or safety of the wine. Instead, they are natural phenomena that can arise during the wine's lifespan. By appreciating the delicate nature of wine and implementing proper storage techniques, both wine enthusiasts and winemakers can ensure a more enjoyable and consistent tasting experience.

2. Can Wine Freeze?

The Hardened Truth

Have you ever found yourself in the situation where you put a bottle of wine in the freezer to cool it down quickly, only to forget about it and discover a solid block of ice instead of liquid wine? Well, you're not alone, and the answer to your question is yes, wine can indeed freeze. However, due to its alcohol content, wine exhibits some resistance to freezing. Typically, wine will start freezing at temperatures around -5 degrees Celsius, although this may vary depending on its alcohol level.

Now that we've answered this common inquiry, let's delve into what to do with frozen wine. Is it possible to salvage it? The answer is yes, but with a caveat. Allow the frozen wine to thaw completely, ensuring the liquid returns to its original state. However, it is crucial to consume the thawed wine promptly, particularly if it is a red wine meant for aging. It's important to note that if the bottle loses its cork during the freezing process, which can occur due to the pressure build-up, the wine will oxidise. In such cases, it is advisable not to consume the wine.

While freezing wine may not be the ideal method to cool it down quickly, there are alternative strategies worth considering. For instance, placing the bottle in an ice bucket filled with ice and water or using a wine chiller can effectively chill the wine to the desired temperature without the risk of freezing.

Now, let's touch upon a related topic: champagne and the potential for explosions when placed in the freezer. Champagne, being a carbonated beverage, poses a unique risk when exposed to freezing temperatures. Due to the high pressure inside the bottle, the liquid can freeze quickly, causing expansion and potentially leading to an explosive situation. It is strongly advised against placing champagne or any carbonated wine in the freezer for extended periods. The best approach is to use a wine chiller or an ice bucket for gradual chilling.

While wine can freeze, it is important to handle the situation appropriately. Thaw the wine completely before consuming it, and be cautious of any signs of oxidation or loss of quality. Remember to avoid freezing carbonated wines like champagne to prevent dangerous explosions. By following these guidelines, you can make the most out of your wine-drinking experience.

3. Can Wine Prevent Sleep?

An answer worth stomaching.

 Excessive consumption of wine, like alcohol in general, can have an impact on sleep and potentially lead to what is known as "rebound insomnia" when consumed a few hours before bedtime. This is due to various factors rooted in the scientific understanding of alcohol's effects on the body.

Alcohol initially promotes sleep onset, acting as a sedative and aiding in falling asleep. However, as the body metabolises alcohol, it triggers the release of large amounts of adrenaline, stimulating the brain and hindering the transition into deep sleep. Furthermore, alcohol interferes with the production of melatonin, commonly referred to as the "sleep hormone," which can further disrupt the sleep-wake cycle.

It's important to note that the specific impact of wine on sleep can vary from person to person. Similar to substances like caffeine, different individuals exhibit varying sensitivities. Even consuming one or two glasses of wine can result in stimulating effects or difficulty falling asleep for some individuals.

To mitigate the potential sleep disturbances associated with wine consumption, it is advisable to limit alcohol intake. Additionally, consuming food while drinking can help regulate the effects of alcohol on the body. Some experts, such as Dr. Arnaud Cocaul, a nutritionist based in Paris, even suggest taking a tablespoon of olive oil before drinking as a means to potentially alleviate the disruptive effects. However, it's important to note that individual responses may vary, and it's always best to consult a healthcare professional for personalised advice.

While the effects of wine on sleep can be influenced by factors such as alcohol metabolism, adrenaline release, and melatonin production, adopting moderation and considering accompanying food intake may help mitigate potential sleep disturbances. It is always recommended to be mindful of personal sensitivities and consult with professionals for personalised guidance.

Written by Raquel Jones, Winemaker for Weathercraft Wine