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Wine has an unpleasant smell of geraniums

An unpleasant smell of geraniums in wine is the result of a reaction between sorbic acid, found in potassium sorbate, and lactic acid bacteria used for MLF. The reaction produces hexadienol, otherwise known as geraniol, which produces the strong and disagreeable odor of rotting geraniums – a highly undesirable outcome that cannot be fixed. Potassium sorbate is an ingredient used to stabilize wines by inhibiting the growth of yeast and mold. Malolactic-fermented wines may still have lactic acid bacteria present unless adequately inhibited with sulfite.

Possible Causes

Corrective Actions, if any

Due to addition of potassium sorbate to a malolactic fermented wine.

No corrective action

This condition, for which there is no cure, is best avoided by eliminating the use of potassium sorbate, especially in totally dry wines, unless it is required to stabilize a sweet wine, in which case you should not malo the wine.

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