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Precision enology

Facing Brettanomyces bruxellensis

Is it possible that a wine smells like a mix of horse sweat and poultry? This phenomenon often occurs by the dreaded yeast: Brettanomyces bruxellensis. We’ll give you some advice to prevent it!


If you are testing a wine and you perceive unpleasant aromas such as a stable, leather or barnyard animals clearly your vineyard is alterated by this contaminant yeast that causes severe sensory consequences in wines. We are talking about Brettanomyces bruxellensis.


Most microorganisms that negatively affect the wine cease their activity or die with ethanol during the alcoholic fermentation. However, the metabolic potential of this yeast allows it to withstand in very adverse environmental conditions and continue to grow, even in the presence of ethanol and antimicrobials such as sulfites.


The characteristic smell tend to appear in red wines during the aging process. But the presence of Brettanomyces not always mean unpleasant smells in the vid. This generate ethylphenols, in order to be perceptible they must be present in a enough concentration.


How do we deal with this? These tips will help you win the battle:

Generally, the presence of Brettanomyces in wine is analyzed at the stage of barrel aging but may be present in the entire winemaking process, from grape ripening to the end. The grape must have good sanitary conditions. Manage all evolution from the early stages!


The sources of pollution can be very diverse, it is essential to reduce the risk taking care of the winery cleaning: barrels, machines, corks, bottles and fermentation tanks. If you have any barrel that has hosted an altered wine, do not keep it and throw it out before it contaminates the rest of barrels from the wine cellar.


For all the microorganisms, temperature active cellular metabolism. Keep your cellar in medium or low temperatures. Every effort will be worth it!


It’s very important a prevention plan to detect and avoid heavy economic losses. Once our enemy “The Brett" has already appeared will be much more difficult to kill it. The ethyl phenols removal treatments involve risks in the final quality of the wine and also can damage the image of the winery.


Can we just we find bruxellensis Brettanomyces in wine? Just the B. Bruxellensis specie, but other Brettanomyces species can appear in other products associated with fermentations as yogurt, kefir, beer, soft drinks and ciders.

Did you know that it’s estimated that at least one third of the red wine bottles sold contain a potentially detectable concentration (above the threshold of perception) of ethylphenol?


From having an excellent wine to be at a point of sensory deterioration is a matter of weeks. You're on time. Prevent and ensures the sensory quality of your wines!

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