Bacterial spoilage of wine and approaches to minimize it

Lett Appl Microbiol. 2009 Feb;48(2):149-56. doi: 10.1111/j.1472-765X.2008.02505.x. Epub 2009 Jan 3.


Bacteria are part of the natural microbial ecosystem of wine and play an important role in winemaking by reducing wine acidity and contributing to aroma and flavour. Conversely, they can cause numerous unwelcome wine spoilage problems, which reduce wine quality and value. Lactic acid bacteria, especially Oenococcus oeni, contribute positively to wine sensory characters, but other species, such as Lactobacillus sp. and Pediococcus sp can produce undesirable volatile compounds. Consequences of bacterial wine spoilage include mousy taint, bitterness, geranium notes, volatile acidity, oily and slimy-texture, and overt buttery characters. Management of wine spoilage bacteria can be as simple as manipulating wine acidity or adding sulfur dioxide. However, to control the more recalcitrant bacteria, several other technologies can be explored including pulsed electric fields, ultrahigh pressure, ultrasound or UV irradiation, and natural products, including bacteriocins and lysozyme.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Bacteria / drug effects
  • Bacteria / growth & development
  • Bacteria / metabolism*
  • Bacteria / radiation effects
  • Fermentation
  • Food Microbiology*
  • Food Preservation / methods*
  • Microbial Viability / drug effects
  • Microbial Viability / radiation effects
  • Wine / analysis
  • Wine / microbiology*