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Bottling white wine in clear glass is an error

By The Economist

13 Jul 2022 · 2 min read

Seeing the liquid within clear glass is meant to boost sales—but if you like your wine unspoiled, it is best to stick with tradition.

Curated by informed

Oenophiles may have noticed a disturbing recent trend. Whites, hitherto normally sold, like their red cousins, in green bottles, are now starting to appear in clear ones. This is reckoned to boost sales by showing off the liquid within. But, though it may entice the eye, such packaging gives the nose reason to despair. Light is a potent driver of chemical change. And a study by Silvia Carlin, Fulvio Mattivi and their colleagues at the Edmund Mach Foundation, in northern Italy, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, shows it is right to be concerned.

Lightstrike, known to the French as goût de lumière, occurs when incoming photons trigger undesirable photochemical reactions that leave wine smelling of “boiled cabbage”, “wet dog” or (quelle horreur!) “Marmite”. Some are more susceptible than others. Reds are generally protected by their tannins and pigment molecules known as anthocyanins. Whites, less so.

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