Science of Wine

The Science of Wine Making

Aug 24, 2022
Science of Wine

Wine analysis and testing is an important part of wine making and distribution.

In order to learn more about wine analysis, we met with Master Winemaker Gabriel Rubilar at his wine lab at Chadds Ford Winery in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania. Gabriel is a chemist who has studied enology, winemaking, and viticulture. Not all commercial wineries are lucky enough to have an internal lab and chemist, but Gabriel says that they should!

The sample should be analyzed right out of the barrel for a true reading.

Wine barrels 1

Wine is regularly extracted from barrels for testing using a "wine thief", a long glass tube designed with a curve to collect samples. There are different stages when the fermentation process can affect the sugars, alcohol content, contributing to tanic, malic, or citric acid levels. There are also yeasts that can halt fermentation which can affect the flavor or sweetness of the wine.

Wine thief

Wine acidity and volatile acidity analysis are measured with a cash still, and a refractometer can help measure sugar content for liquids by determining the glucose and fructose levels. Also used is a spectrophotometer for acetic acids, L-malic acids, and residual reducing sugars. The fermentation process can be analyzed with a hydrometer. The goal is to have a very standardized recipe so that wine that is duplicated across many barrels tastes the same, has the same hue, and is a safe process for distribution.

The science of wine is one way we can understand food and beverage industries better and learn about the safety processes associated with winemaking.


Julia Rzucidlo

Operations Specialist

Julia (she/her/hers) is part of our Marketing & Communications team.