Delta G is a term that describes the “glucoamino acid” that gives our wine its distinctive yellow tinge. When you turn some of your wine into a glass like this, you get back what many consider the magic of wine: the natural color, the complexity, and the acidity that make it different from ordinary fruit wines.
You find it in the vinegary flavors of red wines such as Viognier, Cabernet Sauvignon (invert color is a sign of the higher-acid wines on tap), Merlot, Chardonnay, Bordeaux, Sauvignon Blanc, etc. When the grapes are ripened, they are given a high dose of this compound called an “acidic wash.” This is when the white grape juice with a lot of chlorophyll (the molecule that gives leafy vegetables their green color) is soaked in a small amount of acid for a few weeks to harden that chlorophyll (or “bio-glass”) so that it glows in the dark.
This is how grape juice and wine are made on the vine. You put the wine into a wine bottle and pour the acid back into the vines. But Delta G is the acid of the vine, and the higher the dose (and longer the soaking), the more Delta G.
The more this chemical is added, the longer the soak, the higher the Delta G. So once again, this is where the “wine magic” comes in. This is more than just color and acidity; it’s also the reason that some of the wines we love so much have more or less alcohol than their sweet red counterparts. It’s why a dry red like Riesling, for example, won’t necessarily taste like a dry white.
The more the acid is applied to the grape juice, the darker the wine, meaning that less acidity is needed to achieve the same depth of color as you get from a red wine. It is true, however, that it is the wine itself that will make you want more acid, not the acid-producing grape juice. If you were to add too much acid, you can affect the flavor of the wine in the same way that a big dose of sugar would. In fact, just the same way you would get a red wine too strong.
How much Delta G is needed?
The amount of Delta G is calculated by looking at the percentage of alcohol by alcohol of the
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