Why does wine oxidize to vinegar but not whisky?

Da Bears and other important distractions...

Moderators: Adminnaoum, flipsoid

tangent1.57
Gunner
Gunner
Posts: 66
Joined: Tue Mar 10, 2009 12:29 am

Why does wine oxidize to vinegar but not whisky?

Post by tangent1.57 »

Why does wine oxidize to vinegar but not whisky?

It's a known fact that wines, when left opened for a few days, oxidizes from wine to vinegar. The ethanol in the wine oxides to acetic acid.

Whiskies/Vodkas/etc. all have ethanol in it, but they don't seem to oxidize into acetic acid. Why is this?

chibilito
New Member
New Member
Posts: 4
Joined: Sun Feb 07, 2010 11:40 pm

Re: Why does wine oxidize to vinegar but not whisky?

Post by chibilito »

If you make wine vinegar, you can dispense with the apples and the press. You'll want good quality wine that's not too strong (10-11% alcohol) because too much alcohol inhibits the activity of the bacteria that transform the wine. If the wine is too weak, on the other hand, the vinegar won't keep well.

ericdesouza
New Member
New Member
Posts: 4
Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2010 5:30 am

Re: Why does wine oxidize to vinegar but not whisky?

Post by ericdesouza »

No, it doesn't "oxidize". Biological action by microbes turns wine to vinegar. Nonetheless I think that the direct oxidation might be detectable, though much slower than evaporation for ethanol. Alcohols are known to form peroxides slowly (though primary alcohols should be very slow indeed) and the peroxides will of course decompose into acids. In any case, it's irrelevant in the usual formation of vinegar.

IMNOTDRPHIL
Scutophile
Scutophile
Posts: 48
Joined: Sun Aug 17, 2008 11:57 am
Location: MO

Re: Why does wine oxidize to vinegar but not whisky?

Post by IMNOTDRPHIL »

tangent1.57 wrote:Why does wine oxidize to vinegar but not whisky?

It's a known fact that wines, when left opened for a few days, oxidizes from wine to vinegar. The ethanol in the wine oxides to acetic acid.

Whiskies/Vodkas/etc. all have ethanol in it, but they don't seem to oxidize into acetic acid. Why is this?


The ethanol in wine is converted into acetic acid by Gram-negative aerobes such as Acetobacter. Wine isn't heated to a high temperature during its manufacture, so the bacteria can survive in the wine and then come out of dormancy when the bottle is opened and exposed to oxygen.

Commercial beer is pasteurized and the heat of pasteurization kills the bacteria, so opened beers won't produce vinegar. However, opened unpasteurized beer will produce vinegar.

Liquors like whiskey and vodka are heated to a high temperature during distillation, which kills any bacteria. They also have ethanol concentrations of 30-95%, which is far higher than beer (~3-6%) or wine (~8-20%). The concentration is high enough to kill just about any microorganism, which is why an opened bottle of liquor keeps for years at room temperature.

Vega
New Member
New Member
Posts: 5
Joined: Wed Apr 07, 2010 12:47 pm

Re: Why does wine oxidize to vinegar but not whisky?

Post by Vega »

Now if you introduce bacteria to the vodka or whisky or beer, then would it then turn to vinegar? In regards to the wine turning into vinegar, how does storing wine on it's side prevent the wine from slowly turning into vinegar compared to wine that sits upright over a period of time? Is this because air is allowed to circulate in a upright bottle but not a bottle that sits on it's side? If that's so, then wouldn't the air in a wine bottle on it's side eventually promote the wine turning into vinegar? I realize the air in the bottle doesn't circulate and is stale but it would seem that the wine would turn a little to the point that it uses up the little bit of air in the sideways wine bottle.

Post Reply