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Techniques in Home Winemaking

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Wine has a strong barnyard smell


If wine has acquired a strong barnyard smell, beyond what would be acceptable, the culprit is indigenous Brettanomyces yeast. Brett, as it is commonly known, can also impart medicinal, sweaty, “Band-Aid” and rancid aromas to wine, and is very difficult to eradicate.


Possible Causes

Corrective Actions, if any

Brettanomyces yeast infection

  • In wine: Sulfite and stabilize filter
  • In barrel: Discard barrel if odor is strong



Your only recourse to eliminate or reduce Brett in finished wine is by stabilizing filtration, or by blending with another wine if the smell is faint.

If a strong Brett odor has developed in an oak barrel, your only option is to discard the barrel. It is nearly impossible to eradicate Brett from barrels.

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