Top wine faults and what to look for

Patrick Materman of Brancott Estate in Marlborough recently held a wine fault seminar in Hong Kong. Here, we roundup some of the most common causes of wine taint and how to identify them.


Hong Kong’s hot, humid, wet and sunny weather conditions (sometimes occurring all at once) is every wines’ nemesis when it comes to long-term storage but sometimes wine faults can occur during the winemaking process or in shipping which are only uncovered at the point of opening the bottle.

During the 2016 Cathay Pacific Hong Kong International Wine & Spirit Competition, VIP international wine judge, Patrick Materman of Brancott Estate hosted a seminar with Debra Meiburg MW to educate Hong Kong’s wine trade on the top faults affecting wine – Talking Taint: Faulty & Spoiled Wine.

“We as an industry need to be better at this – I’ve tasted many wines with faults over the years,”  said Meiburg.

“Winemakers are trained to look for faults,” said Materman. “Some people, however without this training have a natural ‘blindspot’ because wine faults are not always obvious. Sometimes descriptors can match faults and not all faults are real ‘faults’.

“For example, tartrate crystals that form in unfiltered wines under cold stablisation just need to be decanted. Consumers are often worried that the glass has broken somehow so being able to explain what they are is very important.”

So what exactly can you look out for in a suspected faulty wine?

Patrick Materman has the answers…

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