Some Basic Wine Chemistry

The chemical reaction representing fermentation was first formulated by Gay-Lussac in 1815, and looks like this:

Glucose/Fructose = Ethyl Alcohol + Carbon Dioxide

But this is just the science behind alcohol production. Obviously, wine is much more than the
production of alcohol. There are many, many more reactions occurring during
fermentation and afterwards that create the wonderful flavor and aroma
compounds that, collectively, we call wine. In general terms, grape juice,
pulp, skin and seed compounds are converted by numerous reactions to secondary
compounds with different aromas and flavors than those present in grapes. Many
of the chemical compounds that comprise wine have been characterized. A short
list would include ethyl and other alcohols, fusel oils, glycerol,
polysaccharides, amino acids, proteins, mannoproteins, phenols, tannins,
anthocyanins, nitrogen, and many vitamins, minerals, enzymes, co-factors and
anti-oxidants, just to name a few.

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