Following the end of all kinds of fermentation, the wine will mature in wood, tank and bottle. During this process, hydrolysis will still continue in the acid environment of the wine. A lot of famous and not so famous wine lovers have time and time again stated that a wine improves with ageing.
(Personally, I disagree., Never have I tasted a wine that has improved with ageing beyond a couple of years, but then again, I have only on few occasions tasted really “great” wines when young and again after ageing. Storage conditions may have something to do with it, but personal taste also.)
If the characters of old wine, or at least of one to three year old wines, owes at least part of it’s flavor generating profile to the hydrolysis of glycosides, then one can truly see glycosylation as a kind of “storage reserve”. Although I think grapevines are great as they are, the potential for manipulation in the form of increased glycosylation may merit attention. The different chemistry of different forms of glycosides also merit attention in this respect. If any readers are still reading, I hope we haven’t turned you off wine. Instead, next time you sip a great wine, at least ponder about the biochemical background that at least in part may be responsible for what you are enjoying.
(Patrik Jones, 10th of September, 2001. Many of these ideas and all facts originate in the many papers produced by Pat Williams and his co-workers at the AWRI. For a more detailed scientific investigation into this topic start by having a look at some of their papers.)
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