Sources of volatile sulfur compounds in wine

M. E. Smith, M. Z. Bekker, P Smith, E. N. Wilkes

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    22 Citations (Scopus)


    Undesirable volatile sulfur compounds with aromas, such as boiled or rotten egg, sewage and rubber, can impact negatively on wine sensory attributes. The identity of these molecules is known but knowledge gaps exist about their source and ways to manage them in winemaking. This review focuses on the chemistry of the three main compounds: hydrogen sulfide, methanethiol and dimethylsulfide. Discussion centres on their possible origins and the efficacy of methods currently used to control them during wine production. The role of metals, both in the vineyard and in the winery, in the formation and release of these three volatile sulfur compounds is described. Oxygen management during fermentation and bulk ageing is discussed along with the impact of the bottle closure.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)705-712
    Number of pages8
    JournalAustralian Journal of Grape and Wine Research
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2015


    • Copper
    • Iron
    • Oxygen
    • Sulfide
    • Volatile sulfur compound

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