Page 133 - The Secrets Of Vinegar
P. 133

                          Les Secrets du Les du
            From Wine to Vinegar
The word “vinegar” comes from the French vinaigre, a combination of the words vin (wine) and aigre (sour). Vinegar varies in color and contains no protein, fat, or vitamins. It is low in carbohydrates and calories and produced from foods found in nature, including fruit (apples, grapes, berries, melons, coconut, etc.), maple syrup, honey, or even the starch (also a form of sugar) found in vegetables and grains (potatoes, corn, barley, wheat, rye, or rice).
To make vinegar, sugar or starch is first converted to alcohol, which is then fermented into vinegar. Fruit flies are strongly attracted to wine left exposed to open air and act as carriers of acetobacter. These bacteria consume and oxidize the alcohol, creating acetic acid. For fermentation to occur, acetobacter must be present, oxygen must be present to convert the alcohol, and the temperature must be between 77°F and 86°F (25°C to 30°C).
Once fermentation has been initiated, acetobacter bacteria starts to accumulate on the surface of the vinegar, forming a thin layer that gradually sinks and becomes a gelatinous substance known as “mother of vinegar.”
For obvious reasons, winemakers want to prevent acetification. They stop the taps during wine fermentation with a specially designed device that releases any carbon dioxide that has formed in the cask. It also prevents oxygen from entering and keeps out acetobacter and other microorganisms that would ruin the wine.

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