7 Things You Didn't Know About Wine Chemistry

by Mikaela Gilbert-Lurie

There are very few things in the world that will make you sound as intelligent as knowing about wine will. It's just one of those things that makes someone seem smart, no matter what — kind of like British accents or a snappy pair of spectacles. And even if you 're not trying to sound smart, when you're consuming large quantities of wine (that's what everyone does, right? That's normal?), it's good to know what's going on there chemically — which is why this Reactions video about the chemistry of wine is so important. Because what's more important the science of one of the best beverages in the world?

When you truly love something, it's good to really understand it on a fundamental level. Like, you wouldn't tell romantic partner that you love them before you really got to know them, would you? It's the same thing with wine. Though you may have drunkenly pronounced your love for this grape-based gift while standing atop a table before (come on we've all been there), you really can't love it until you know what makes it special. How is wine different from grape juice? Why do some wines taste different from others? Can I get an IV of Rosé, or is that bad for me?

The boozy video, which comes to us courtesy of the American Chemical Society's Reactions web series, sets out to explain the way in which chemical differences are ultimately responsible for the unique flavor profiles of different wines. Variations in grapes, soil, and climate all play a role in making your favorite vino taste the way it tastes.

So, are you ready for Wine Chem 101? Read on for seven things you didn't know about wine chemistry, and scroll down to watch the full video:

1. Wine Is Mostly Water

All wine is 98 percent water and ethanol, so when you're paying for nice bottle of wine, you're paying for the two percent variation that separates, say, a Shiraz from a Chardonnay.

2. There Are A Lot of Grapes Out There

Ten thousand wine grapes varieties. TEN THOUSAND. That's a lot of grape options.

3. Wine Ferments Via Yeast

Wine goes from grape juice to alcohol when yeast eats the natural sugars present in the smashed grapes and releases carbon dioxide in the form of bubbles.

4. Soil Matters

The minerals present in the soil of big wine growing regions — like those in France, Chile, and California — are partially responsible for the different tastes of different wines. Not all dirt is created equal.

5. Warm Climates Create More Alcoholic Wines

Meanwhile, cool climates create less alcoholic and more mild-flavored wines. Who knew temperature and humidity were so important? Oh, right — everyone suffering through this beast of a heat wave right now.

6. Certain Molecules Hit the Taste Buds Differently

For example, methoxypyrazines have been identified as the reason some wines taste like bell peppers.

7. Wines Contain Up to 60 Trace Elements

Which is why there's almost endless variation and subtle flavor distinctions amongst bottles of wine.

Watch the whole video here, and don't forget to find out what your wine choice says about you. It's the only measure of personality that matters.

Images: BrittanyGarnerDesign/Etsy; Reactions/ YouTube (8)