Botrytis cinerea

From Academic Kids

A grey fungus, Botrytis cinerea or Botrytis, that affects wine grapes. It is also called Botrytis bunch rot. The fungus gives rise to two different kinds of infections. The first, grey rot, is the result of consistently wet or humid conditions, and typically results in the loss of the affected bunches. The second, noble rot or Edelfäule in German, occurs when drier conditions follow wetter, and can result in distinctive sweet dessert wines.

Botrytis cinerea is characterized by hyaline conida on gray conidiophores. The fungus produces sclerotia as survival structures. The fungus germinates with water at a temperature of 18 degrees Celsius.

The fungus sucks the water from the grapes leaving behind a higher percent of solids, i.e. sugars, acids and minerals, resulting in a more intense concentrated final product. The wine is often said to have an aroma of honeysuckle and a bitter finish on the palate.

Botrytis complicates wine making by making fermentation far more complex. Botrytis produces an anti-fungal that kills yeast and often results in fermentation stopping before the wine has reached sufficient levels of alcohol. Makers of fine German dessert wines have been known to take their fermenting tubs of wine into their homes to nuture the yeast through the night to assure that the alcohol level reaches legal minimums for the product to be called wine.


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