What's Inside #WineWednesday: Eucalyptol

Breathe it in:

Friday evening bubble bath.
Saturday morning hike.
Sunday afternoon tea time.

Notice the same smells throughout it all?

If your essential oil infused bubble bath and steaming tea smell the same as your favorite outdoor trail, you can thank our #WineWednesday molecule. That smell is the calming smell of Eucalyptol. From the nearly 700 species of Eucalyptus trees you may encounter on your hike to the essential oil treatments we know and love, Eucalyptol is responsible for the lingering smell of zen, freshness and even, you guessed it, wine.


Smell the Science

Take a big whiff of that relaxing smell of Eucalyptol before we dive into the science of it all. We know that science and zen might not go hand-in-hand, but because of the Eucalyptol molecule, we can have our cake and eat it, too. Like an acai bowl before power yoga or a beer in hand while watching the game, the calming smell and fresh taste of Eucalyptol is the perfect molecule to create an irresistible flavor and aroma combination that is found in your glass of wine from Napa Valley, to Tuscany, to Ava Winery.

So, what’s in #WineWednesday:


Chemical Name: Eucalyptol (also commonly called Cineole)
Class: Ether
Smell: Herbal, Fresh & mint-like
Color: Colorless

Uses: Eucalyptol has a wide range of uses- most studied and some supposed. Because of its pleasant aroma and taste, it is often used in flavorings, fragrances, and cosmetics. Who wouldn’t want to smell like a dose of calm? It’s used in food grade productions to create baked goods, confectionery, and, of course, beverages. When used in essential oils, along with a mix of other essential oils, it is supposed to reduce pain and depression in people with arthritis as well as reducing inflammation and pain when applied topically.

Where it’s found in nature:  You can easily smell Eucalyptol as you take your stroll through the Eucalyptus tree-filled hikes, but it is also found in everyday places- like your spice cabinet. From bay leaves to basil, rosemary and sage, Eucalyptol is found in every good bowl of homemade spaghetti. It’s also been found in our cup of calming chamomile tea and, yes, even in our alternative calming methods like cannabis.

Product Goods: Like your Lululemon yoga pants can be used for a variety of different occasions, Eucalyptol can be used in a variety of products. Because of its fresh smell and crisp taste, producers use it in bathroom products like soap, shampoo and conditioner, lotion, and toothpaste. It’s used to liven up the Spearmint and Wintergreen gums, candies, and cough lozenges. It’s an additive to create cranberry, ginger and nutmeg flavorings.

How We Use It @AvaWinery: At Ava, we use Eucalyptol to add a touch of subtle coolness and fresh spice to your wines.  

The Guardian Review

"The most fascinating wine project I’ve come across this year has no need for vineyards, barrels, or a winery. It doesn’t even use grapes. If you believe what the people behind the project say, they could be on the brink of challenging everything that people hold dear about wine.

Though they don’t quite put it this way, Ava Winery could be as disruptive in its field as fellow West Coast tech businesses such as Airbnb, Amazon or Uber. Founded in 2015 by a pair of biotechnologists and a sommelier, the San Francisco start-up has spent the past two years developing a way to re-create wines “molecule by molecule”, using flavour molecules, sugars, acids and ethanol derived from natural sources."

Read more at TheGuardian.com.

What's Inside #WineWednesday: Isoamyl Acetate

We know Throwback Thursday is tomorrow, but humor us:

Who’s there?
Orange, who?
Orange you glad I didn’t say banana?

AvaWinery Isoamyl Acetate

Okay, we know: you’ve been sick of that joke since the first grade- we don’t blame you. Admit it, though, bananas were the “it” fruit for a while. I mean Gwen Stefani even sang a song spelling it out for us. Thanks to Pinterest, there are countless ways to use bananas aside from their traditional nutritional benefits: hair treatments, cosmetic improvements, and even dog treats to name a few. If you try out the banana trends, you’ll likely hear a few comments of how you smell like bananas. Continue to wow the masses with your knowledge of the benefits of bananas by talking about the exact chemical that gives the yellow treat its smell- Isoamyl Acetate.

Facing the Science:

Science is can be daunting, but without it we wouldn’t know the countless benefits of bananas and their peels. We understand some of the compound names are overwhelming, but don’t give up! Isoamyl Acetate (eye-so-AH-mull a-suh-tate) is worth knowing because of its prevalence. Aside from that, it’s such a great molecule that it’ll make you go bananas…(you knew that was coming.)

So, what’s in #WineWednesday:

Isoamyl Acetate

Chemical Name: Isoamyl Acetate
Class: Ester
Smell: Fruity, sweet, banana
Color: Colorless

Uses: Isoamyl Acetate is a popular aroma and flavor molecule. It contributes scents to soaps, perfumes, and even banana scented scratch-n-sniff stickers. And, you guessed it, Isoamyl Acetate adds a sweet but gentle banana taste to candies, juices, and wines you know and love. The banana candy in the packet of Runts or the coveted banana flavored Laffy Taffy wouldn’t be the chosen candy if it weren’t for this multitasking molecule.

Where it’s found in nature: Believe it or not, there are two different common places to find natural Isoamyl Acetate: bananas and beer. Banana oil is almost purely Isoamyl Acetate. Also, during the fermentation stages of brewing beer, the compound can make an appearance. In smaller amounts, Isoamyl Acetate can also be found in peppermint and in green teas leaves.

Uses in Product Goods: Isoamyl Acetate is hidden away in more product goods than you might think. It blends so nicely with other flavor and aroma molecules that it is often hidden at first sniff or taste only to be revealed later. Isoamyl Acetate is used in most soaps, perfumes, candies, and chewing gum that either smells fruity or minty. It lends itself to the softening of peppermint scents that would be much sharper without Isoamyl Acetate.

How We Use It @AvaWineryAt Ava, we like to take advantage of both of Isoamyl Acetate’s strengths; we add Isoamyl Acetate to wines when we want them to give off a tinge of soft, ripe banana scent or flavor. This molecule, in particular, adds an extra level of complexity to most white wines and premier reds.

Do you ever notice a slight hint of banana in your wine? Do you love it, hate it, or not notice it?

What's Inside #WineWednesday: 3-Mercaptohexyl Acetate



What are some of the places you love to enjoy a nice glass of wine? We had a recent debate about which wine-vacations is better: Italy or Hawaii? Obviously there are wines perfect for each place and set of activities and meals that accompany the vacation, but if you’re leaning toward the tropical side just for the sake of picking one, we’ve got just the molecule for you. If you’re a fan of passion fruit or anything that transports you somewhere humid and sandy with just one sniff, meet 3-mercaptohexyl acetate.

Facing the Science:

Numbers + letters in words can get tricky. We know molecule names are a foreign language to most. Take another sniff of the calming scent of 3-mercaptohexyl acetate and relax. We’re here to show you these molecules (remember, ingredients) are the exact same molecules in your guava flavored health drink, your tropical flavored candy, and your glass of Napa Valley wine.

So, what’s in #WineWednesday:

Chemical Name: 3-Mercaptohexyl Acetate
Class: Thiol
Smell: Floral, fruity, passion fruit
Color: Colorless clear liquid

Uses: 3-mercaptohexyl acetate is used as an aroma molecule — it contributes scents that are floral, fruity, tropical and similar to black currant whenever it is added to a compound. Popular in Sauvignon, 3-mercaptohexyl acetate is often what you love about your dry, sweet wines. However, that’s just the beginning. When mixed with other molecules in the right ratios, the influence of 3-mercaptohexyl acetate becomes deeper and richer.

Where it’s found in nature: 3-mercaptohexyl acetate can be found naturally in two of the things you crave on a hot beach in the evening: guava and wine.

Product Goods: You’ll find 3-mercaptohexyl acetate in all of your tropical smelling goods, from soft candies, confectionary frosting and gum to perfume and shampoo! 3-mercaptohexyl acetate, though it a mouthful to say, is easy to detect even with the simple technology of your nose. So next time you are scoping out candles for your coffee table or enjoying shaved ice on one of these scorching summer days, if you sense a hint of blackberry or passion fruit, think of 3-mercaptohexyl acetate and be proud that you’re that much more of a chemist and flavor connoisseur! But we recommend practicing pronunciation a few times before you teach your friends.

How We Use It @AvaWineryAdding 3-mercaptohexyl acetate to one of our wines gives it more of a savory, tropical fruit or cassis aroma and flavor. But, used in conjunction with other molecules in different measures can drastically alter the sensory buzzes given off. In fact, remember last week’s molecule, Linalool? When 3-mercaptohexyl acetate is paired in wine with Linalool in the right ratio, the wine will start leaning away from a Sauvignon Blanc toward a Spanish Verdejo scent and taste.

Which would you prefer to have with you on an island? Your favorite Sauv Blanc? Or your favorite Verdejo?

What's Inside #WineWednesday: Linalool

The spectacular ‘April showers’ season California experienced this year has created what will be a once-in-a-lifetime set of May flowers. This means the blooming season for Northern California’s luscious lavender fields is right around the corner. And, by the way, lavender is a prime example of where to find the molecule Linalool in nature.

So, what’s in #WineWednesday:


Chemical Name: Linalool
Class: Monoterpenoids
Smell: Apple, French Lavender and Bergamot
Color: Colorless

Uses: Linalool is most prominent in naturally soothing and delicious scents like lavender and bergamot, so it is often used to recreate those smells in candles, perfumes, and juices. Additionally, it is often in many essential oils because of its natural abilities to relieve pain, reduce inflammation, and lessen feelings of anxiety. Linalool is also a key element in the body’s creation of Vitamin E, which means consumption and use of the molecule is actually great for your body — skin, hair, and nails in particular.

Where it’s found in nature: Linalool is most readily found in lavender, mint, laurels, cinnamon and citrus fruits, but over 200 other species of plants also produce the molecule. It is also naturally occurring in all of the most popular essential oils, from tangerine to chamomile and ylang ylang.


Product Goods: Easily the molecule that contributes to the most alluring and comforting of scents, linalool is used in a whopping 60–80% of perfumed products. Who doesn’t want another lavender candle for their bedside table? Or a citrusy face wash to wake you right up in the morning? Linalool is key in both of those as well as cleaning supplies, air fresheners, lipstick and beyond.

How We Use It @AvaWinery: Linalool is used in our winemaking just as it is used in the creation of all other heaven-scented things: it makes our wines smell like the answer to your prayers. The aromatic compounds that make your mouth water when you smell our wines would not be the same if linalool were left out.

What’s Inside #WineWednesday?

Ethyl methanoate, ethyl butanoate, ethyl pentanoate, ethyl octanoate… the list goes on and on into words that may become more and more anxiety-inducing.


Don’t be intimidated by the hard-science terms we’re throwing at you every Wednesday. Think of the names of these molecules the way you think of yoga poses: You went to your first class and tried to do a peacock pose. All you knew that day was, it’s nicknamed the peacock and it’s such a challenge. But, the more often you practice, the better you get, and the more you will start to recognize the peacock pose not by its nickname, but by its given name: mayurasana. All of the sudden you’ll feel more like an experienced yogi — you really know what you’re doing. We’re here to give you the tools to understand the reasons you are tasting and smelling what you taste and smell in the wines you love.

Facing the Science

The list of molecules up at the top? Those contribute to the overall experience of your wine by adding aroma and taste molecules to your glass. From the smell of glue to the smell of cinnamon, from apples to cardamom, sommeliers and Friday night wine drinkers alike determine if their glass is full of pineapples or plums by identifying which ethyl molecules are present.

“Sweet,” “fruity,” and “nutty,” don’t taste that way simply because they are. Your taste-buds communicate those sensations because they meet a mix of flavor and aroma molecules. We’re here to show you these molecules (ingredients) are the exact same molecules in your chewing gum, your summer day fruit salad, and the wine made from grapes.

So, what’s in #WineWednesday:

Chemical Name: Ethyl Hexanoate
Class: Esters
Smell: Fruity — pineapples
Color: Colorless

Uses: Ethyl hexanoate is used namely as an aroma compound to create a fruity, irresistible smell. And because smell and taste are intrinsically linked, you can also find ethyl hexanoate used in tropical flavors.

Where it’s found in nature: Ethyl hexanoate can be found naturally in beer and wine, apples and oranges, as well as butter and bread — and that is just to name a few. It’s also used as a fragrance molecule to create apple, grape, kiwi, papaya, rose, strawberry, and (of course) wine scented things.

So, What’s the Difference Between This Ethyl and the Last One We Wrote About?

There are subtle differences between ethyl hexanoate and ethyl butanoate (and the ethyls we have yet to feature). Differences you will most easily notice are that if there is more ethyl butanoate in something you smell or taste, it will tend to give off a sweet apple-banana flavor; more ethyl hexanoate will lead you to more of a sweet pineapple-brandy scented experience. Ethyl hexanoate is somewhat more powerful, so it contributes to that feeling in the back of your throat when you take a big whiff of good wine.

Uses in Product Goods: Who can ever get enough of the fruity-goodness scents that transport you to a childhood candy or a tropical island? Because of how popular these kinds of smells and flavors are, ethyl hexanoate is used in everything from tutti-fruitti baked goods and chewing gums to fruit ices and candy. Juicy fruit, jams, and jellies — ethyl hexanoate reigns supreme in them all.

How We Use It @AvaWinery: You may begin to see a pattern for ethyl-something-molecules. We use these fruity smelling molecules the same way Mother Nature and natural winemakers do: for irresistible aromas and undeniable flavor.

What's Inside #WineWednesday: Rose Oxide

Spring has sprung and we’ve written a poem for you about this week’s chemical:

Roses are red.
Violets are blue.
Flowers smell sweet
because of a chemical that's in wine, too.

Along with our top-notched in-house poets, we are using a team of sommeliers and scientists to uncover the hundreds of molecules (read ingredients) in your wine. From red to white and everything in between, each has a different makeup of molecules that create the flavors, tastes, feel and overall experience of the wine. Once we know these ingredients, we find exact molecules from other sources to rebuild your luxury wine molecule by molecule.

With our methods, we can reproduce a $10,000 bottle of wine at a fraction of the cost. (That’s better than a dozen red roses!)

Facing the Science

Chemicals are in everything- from your organic, vegan, kosher avocado toast to Poptarts. We understand that molecule names are a bit terrifying and can even make this seem “unhealthy.” But, we’re here to show you these molecules (read: ingredients) are the exact same molecules in your bouquet of flowers, your cheat day treat, and your “natural” wine.  

So, what’s in #WineWednesday:

Rose Oxide

Chemical Name: Rose Oxide
Class: Monoterpenes
Smell:  Floral - Roses
Color: Colorless

Uses: Rose oxide is the signature smell of love, so perfumeries, body lotions and cosmetic companies, and flavor creating companies all use the molecule to infuse the smell of love in their products.

Where it’s found in nature: You might have guessed it- rose oxide is found naturally in roses and rose oil. Additionally, it is found in fruits like lychee, essential oils, and sweet white wines like Gewürztraminer.

Product Goods: Rose oxide smells so good you simply can’t resist it. That’s why fragrance companies use it when making a wide variety of aromas from herbal to honey, and raspberry to red rose fragrances. They use these irresistible smells in body lotions, cosmetics, and shampoo. Who can say no to another bottle of Wild Rose body lotion? Additionally, food companies use rose oxide in certain beverages and hard candy. If we had to guess, we think rose oxide might be Valentine’s Day iconic aroma.

Rose Oxide Wine

How We Use It @AvaWinery: We use rose oxide molecules the same way nature and perfumeries do: to make your #WineWednesday have hints of rose garden delight.

What’s Inside #WineWednesday: Tartaric Acid

We all have that one friend — the social butterfly that has an insatiable need to always be the center of attention. They spice up your life every time you get together but can be too much at times leaving you craving some space to recharge. Finding the right balance of that friend is crucial.

Our #WineWednesday molecule is like that friend. This molecule is the one that all winemakers, wine enthusiasts, and Friday night wine drinkers know about. Too much of it and the wine turns sour, not enough and it tastes like someone forgot to add the grapes to the water. The molecule, found in every wine from white to red and everything in between: tartaric acid.

Tartaric Acid

Facing the Science

In our all natural, GMO-free world, it’s easy to forget wine is simply a mix of hundreds of chemicals, so we’re here to show you these chemicals (ingredients) are the exact same molecules in that “natural” wine, organic fruit salad and that GMO free pack of sunflower seeds.

So, what’s in #WineWednesday:

Tartaric Acid Molecule

Chemical Name: Tartaric Acid
Class: Organic Acid
Smell: Neutral
Taste: Sour
Color: Colorless

Uses: In the wine world, tartaric acid is the new and trendy molecule that is at the center of the “natural vs. processed wine” debate. Tartaric acid is found naturally in all wines, red and whites, at varying levels. More tartaric acid = more sour wine. Some winemakers add tartaric acid to sour up the wine while others use salt and other filtering mechanisms to filter out excess tartaric acid. Tartaric acid is used outside of the wine world to improve tastes as well. Pharmaceutical companies use it to improve the taste of oral medications.


Where it’s found in nature: Tartaric acid is found naturally in fruits and vegetables like grapes, bananas, apricots, apples, avocados and sunflower seed. It is also a natural byproduct of the wine fermentation process.

Product Goods: Because tartaric acid is the social butterfly of acids, it can take many forms and be used in countless product goods. It’s used widely in effervescent tablets, fruit jellies, carbonated drinks and gelatin desserts. It can also be used in cleaning and polishing metals, processing cheese, wool dyeing, and baking powders. We mean it when we say this molecule is like that friend that you want to take to parties because of how well they get along with everyone.

How We Use It @AvaWinery: We use tartaric acid the same way nature and “natural” winemakers do: to balance pH levels in wine to make it stable while ensuring it has the right amount of sour to pucker your purple stained lips.