Most people that have ever visited a viticulteur (winemaker) will know that it is common wisdom that vibrations are bad for the wine quality. When I was just a kid the winemaker always told me that we should be silent because the wines needed to sleep, but later a different one explained that this must have been to stop me from running around and causing vibrations.

Even scientific research (e.g. Chung et al. 2008 Journal of Food Composition and Analysis (21)8) has shown that vibrations will indeed change the wine and, among others, accelerate the aging process.

What I am wondering is why these vibrations matter? Is it a chemical effect, in which the vibrations accelerate certain chemical reactions? Or is it more physical in nature, in which the vibrations increase mixing rates and therefore somehow change the evolution of the wine?

If it helps to get your minds working: Vibrating wine in a glass enter image description here

  • The paper you refer to is very interesting and I think answers the question you are looking for. Were you not able to access the full text or is there something specific from the paper that you are interested in? – bobthechemist Jun 29 '13 at 12:24
  • I was able to access the pdf but I didn't find the answer. The type of statements made on the effect of vibration are hardly conclusive. To give an example, the following sentence attributes some chemical change to vibration, but it does not explain why the vibrations have this effect: "Consequently, the increase in refractive index in this experiment could also be attributed to the degradation of flavonol glycodises, which was further accelerated by vibration." What I am looking for is an explanation of WHY vibration matters, not whether it matters (which is conclusively shown in the article) – Michiel Jun 30 '13 at 19:36
  • That's a bullshit story. Continued shaking might indeed slightly speed up reactions that happen on the glass surface, but what a nonsense experiment is that? A few moments of "shaking" (by a small boy running past the bottle) in months is surely inconsequential. – Karl Jul 12 at 22:21

One of the effects could be that vibrations increase mixing on phase boundary between wine itself and air above it.

Other thing is that vibration are generally not good for crystal growing process (instead big and nice monocrystals one gets polycrystalline solid). Usually you can find nice crystals of tartaric acid in the bottom of bottles and barrels. I do not know chemistry behind it but certainly it will change taste of the wine if the tartaric acid stays longer in wine (slow crystallisation) instead of falling rapidly out of solution when you shake it.

Of course if there is still a sediment earlier during fermentation, certainly that will be not good if this mixes with clear wine.

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