The vinegar fly

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THE worst possible mishap which can befall a winemaker is to have his wine at one stage or another turn to vinegar (from the French vinaigre: "sour wine"), which it can quite easily do if vinegar bacteria are allowed access to it. These bacteria are, like yeasts, present everywhere about us, but are sometimes introduced to the wine by that obnoxious carrier, the vinegar fly. This tiny fly, which appears as if by magic around any fermenting liquor or fruit, is the wine-maker's biggest enemy; it must at all costs be kept from your wine. If it gains access the liquor, instead of turning to alcohol, will turn to vinegar, and you will have the sad task of pouring it down the drain or using it for cooking, for it will be quite irreclaimable.

The wine can be attacked at any stage, and that is why you must cover the first ferment closely with a thick cloth. The principal danger, however, occurs not so much then, when the ferment is vigorous, as during the slow, quiet secondary fermentation. Vinegar flies are drawn to it as if by magic.

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The Miracle Of Vinegar

The Miracle Of Vinegar

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