Stink Bugs Can Change the Taste of Your Wine

Especially if you drink pinot noir
By Elizabeth Armstrong Moore,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 26, 2017 6:50 PM CST
Stink Bugs Can Change the Taste of Your Wine
The stink bugs give off a cilantro-like odor when under stress.   (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

Bugs wind up in most things we consume, organic and otherwise. It's so common and hard to avoid that the FDA sets allowable levels, notes the American Council on Science and Health. It's no surprise, then, that stink bugs, which have a fondness for grapes, can end up in wine. The problem, however, is that the bugs release an odor when under stress—like when they're about to be smushed by a wine press—and that can result in stink-bug-flavored vino. Think cilantro. Now for the first time, researchers are zeroing in on exactly how many stink bugs it takes to taint a batch, per the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. Their conclusion: three stink bugs per grape cluster remain largely undetected in the final product, notes a post at Eureka Alert.

One quirky finding: White wine is unaffected, but red wine, especially pinot noir, is vulnerable to the bugs' offending compound, called trans-2-decenal (T2D). Another factor is that some of the tasters in the study actually liked wine with a hint of T2D, while others found it just awful. The ACSH post notes that T2D is in cilantro, and cilantro has the same kind of love/hate following. The bugs, more formally called brown marmorated stink bugs, aren't native to the US and are believed to have hitched a ride to North America from Asia. (Some suggest vacuuming stink bugs up.)

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