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Techniques in Home Winemaking

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Wine smells yeasty


A yeasty smell in wine is the result of a reaction between wine and dead yeast cells, or lees, known as autolysis. In some wines, namely sparkling wines and Chardonnay, autolysis is actually desirable to give wine more flavor complexity and mouthfeel. However, the smell can become unpleasant if the wine is left in contact with the lees, particularly the gross lees, for too long and develop into H2S and mercaptans.


Possible Causes

Corrective Actions, if any

Wine has been in contact for too long with the lees (autolysis).

No corrective action. Drink/dump wine.



Unfortunately, there is no corrective action for autolysis. To prevent it, rack wine from its lees according to the recommended racking schedule, and avoid leaving the wine on its lees for more than 18 months.

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