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Botrytis - What is it and why is it important?

Today, we bring some details on botrytis - what is it in fact? why is it important? and what should you know about it as a WSET candidate? 🤓

🍇 Botrytis cinerea (also known as grey mould) is a mould that can attack many different plants and cause significant damage - which is why it is usually feared rather than desired. It can also destroy the fruit of still unripe grapes. But sometimes winemakers are also happy about botrytis: if the fungus attacks highly ripe grapes, it is considered noble rot and makes the creation of world-famous sweet wines possible in the first place.

🍇 And how exactly does it work? The botrytis spores perforate the berry skin so that water can evaporate from the inside. The remaining ingredients, such as sugar, acids, and aromas, are naturally concentrated and form the basis for outstanding wines. White varieties with thin skin, such as Sémillon or Furmint, are particularly suitable for this.

🍇 The concentrated must, which can be pressed in small quantities from the botrytis berries, produces some of the most sought-after sweet wines in the world, first and foremost Sauternes from Bordeaux, Tokaji from Hungary and the sweet wines of Neusiedlersee in Austria. German Trockenbeerenauslesen and the Sélection de Grains Nobles of Alsace also owe their quality to botrytis.

That leaves one question that every WSET student must be able to answer: What are the perfect conditions for botrytis to develop? A tip: A river or lake nearby helps... 😉


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