Taint Problems in Wine


The Memstar taint removal technology is able to remove much, if not all, of the offensive taint character without stripping the wine of its essential vinosity and character. Since its introduction, millions of litres of smoke- and Brett-tainted wine have been successfully recovered in Australia, Canada and New Zealand.

Memstar’s process for salvaging Brettanomyces and bush fire smoke tainted wines was developed and refined in response to the massive problems with grapes tainted by smoke in large areas of SE Australia in 2003 and again in 2007.

Wines made from smoke tainted grapes have a wet ashtray / campfire aroma and a bitter, acrid palate. Similarly, wines severely tainted by Brettanomyces infection are extremely unpleasant with aromas variously described as horsy, medicinal and a finish on the palate that is hard and metallic .

The major indicator compounds associated with both these types of taint belong to the group called volatile phenols. In the case of Brettanomyces, the responsible compounds are 4-ethylphenol and 4- ethylguaiacol; and in the case of smoke taint, guaiacol and 4-methylguaiacol.

memstar-tanks-ss-vaHow does taint removal work?

A permeate flow containing significant concentrations of the taint compounds is separated from the wine by the Memstar RO.

These taint compounds are then removed from the permeate by passing it through an adsorbent medium such as our proprietary, high capacity activated carbon filters.

The treated permeate without the offensive taint compounds is then recombined with the bulk of the wine.

Winemakers’ Questions concerning Memstar processes