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Plumpton College, Champagne Sparkling Wine World Championships and Nyetimber

Summer solstice is the longest day of the year, but is all this sunshine ruining the wines, ciders and beers that we enjoy at picnics, barbeques and other outdoor events?

The famous Italian scientist Galileo Galilei is famously quoted as saying “Wine is sunlight, held together by water”, but, once the grapes are picked, light becomes the enemy of wine. In the winery, winemakers keep it in the dark: inside tanks, barrels and underground cellars. Only once the wine is bottled does it come back into the light, and this can ruin wine in less than an hour.

Light strike taint or Goût de Lumière occurs when ultraviolet and visible light react with the amino acids in the wine to transform them into unpleasant sulphide compounds. Wine can quickly develop a taste reminiscent of dishwater, old potatoes, cardboard and cabbage when exposed to sunshine. At Plumpton...

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