Evolution of 3-mercaptohexanol, hydrogen sulfide, and methyl mercaptan during bottle storage of Sauvignon blanc wines. Effect of glutathione, copper, oxygen exposure, and closure-derived oxygen

J Agric Food Chem. 2011 Mar 23;59(6):2564-72. doi: 10.1021/jf1043585. Epub 2011 Feb 18.


The effects of wine composition and postbottling oxygen exposure on 3-mercaptohexanol (3-MH), hydrogen sulfide (H2S), and methyl mercaptan (MeSH) were investigated. A Sauvignon blanc wine with initial copper concentration of 0.1 mg/L was treated with copper sulfate and/or glutathione (GSH) prior to bottling to give final concentrations of 0.3 and 20 mg/L, respectively. The wines were bottled with a synthetic closure previously stored in either ambient air or nitrogen to study the effect of the oxygen normally present in the closure. Bottled wines were stored for 6 months in either air or nitrogen to study the effect of oxygen ingress through the closure. Copper addition resulted in a rapid initial decrease in 3-MH. During storage, a further decrease of 3-MH was observed, which was lower with GSH addition and lowered oxygen exposure. H2S accumulated largely during the second 3 months of bottle storage, with the highest concentrations attained in the wines treated with GSH and copper. Lower oxygen from and through the closure promoted H2S accumulation. The concentration of MeSH was virtually not affected by the experimental variables at 6 months, although differences were observed after 3 months of storage. The implications for wine quality are discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Copper / chemistry*
  • Food Handling*
  • Glutathione / chemistry*
  • Hexanols / chemistry*
  • Hydrogen Sulfide / chemistry*
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Oxygen / chemistry*
  • Sulfhydryl Compounds / chemistry*
  • Time Factors
  • Wine / analysis*


  • Hexanols
  • Sulfhydryl Compounds
  • methylmercaptan
  • Copper
  • Glutathione
  • Oxygen
  • 3-mercaptohexanol
  • Hydrogen Sulfide