Striking lucky with light

Monday June 11 2018 by Vitisphere

The use of light to 'treat' vines with fungal diseases was quickly mentioned. For Michel Valade, “the technique is attractive in the laboratory, but transitioning to vineyards is likely to be very challenging...”The use of light to 'treat' vines with fungal diseases was quickly mentioned. For Michel Valade, “the technique is attractive in the laboratory, but transitioning to vineyards is likely to be very challenging...” - Photo credit : Aude Lutun

Hold an aperitif in the sun and you’ll get guaranteed light strike after three minutes!” quipped Michel Valade, head of the wine department at Champagne’s technical committee at the national convention of the French oenologists’ association. Light and its many facets, both positive and negative, was at the centre of debates during the convention attended by 350 winemakers. “We chose this theme because light strike is a nationwide problem”, explained Wilfrid Devaugermé, chairman of the Champagne oenologists’ association. “We wanted to extend the theme to include the positive aspects of light for our industry”.

The Champagne committee reviewed the results of its tests on the negative effects of light on white bottles. Although amber-coloured LED lights can be used in wine storage areas, “for work areas, white light compatible with good working conditions and the quality of the wines needs to be used”, stressed Valade. “The main problem occurs though at wine merchants and supermarkets. We must educate marketers about the importance of light so that the quality of our wines can be preserved”.

Instant effect

To highlight the rapid effects of light, several workshops were held, with a comparative tasting of the same wine, without exposure to light and after an exposure of 4 hours. The experiment was conducted on a Champagne, a Prosecco, a still white wine and a rosé. For each of the wines, the flavour transformation (similar to a cauliflower taste) was very perceptible. In another workshop, oenologists were able to taste the same Champagne subjected to an atmosphere of blue light, then red. The perception of the wine then became significantly different.

 

 

 

 

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