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.

What’s Inside #WineWednesday: Sotolon

Have you heard that saying:

Image Source: Red Panda Wall Stickers

Image Source: Red Panda Wall Stickers

Using that reasoning…

Today’s #WineWednesday molecule is known for its maple syrup/caramel smell. That makes it a breakfast necessity. So, wine is breakfast?

We’ll go with it…

Our sommeliers and scientists have uncovered hundreds of molecules (read: ingredients) in wine that add to the overall smell, taste, color and experience of your wine. Once we find the ingredients, we find exact molecules from other sources to recreate your delicious wine molecule by molecule.

Thus, with our technologies and processes at Ava Winery, we can reproduce that $10,000 bottle of wine at a fraction of the cost and even tell you that the molecules inside are some of the same ones found in your breakfast of champions. (We mean the pancakes and syrup, not the bottle of wine.)

Facing the Science

We know molecule names are a foreign language to most. So we’re here to show you these molecules (remember, ingredients) are the exact same molecules in your Napa Valley wine, your maple syrup, and Monday morning cup(s) of coffee.

So, what’s in #WineWednesday:

Image Source: @AvaWinery

Image Source: @AvaWinery

Chemical Name: Sotolon
Class: Lactone
Smell: Maple Syrup
Color: Colorless

Uses: Sotolon is an extremely powerful aroma compound that smells different at differing concentrations. At high concentrations, it smells like one of our favorite dinners: curry. But at lower concentrations, which are more frequent, it smells like some of our favorite breakfast necessities: maple syrup and caramel — bananas foster anyone?

Where it’s found in nature: Sotolon is found most readily in fenugreek seeds that are native to the Mediterranean region, southern Europe, and western Asia. The seeds are used in cooking, to make medicine, or even eaten as vegetables in India. Additionally, sotolon is found naturally in coffee, molasses, aged rum and sake, and roast tobacco.

Product Goods: Sotolon has such an enticing aroma that manufacturers have used it in banana, cinnamon, mango, pina colada, vanilla and toffee flavorings. And yes, we can thank sotolon for the smell of Fall in our Pumpkin Spice Lattes. The smell is so enticing that artificial maple syrup manufacturers add it to our traditional pancake pairing for an extra dose of that delicious smell.

Maple Syrup

How We Use It @AvaWinery: We use sotolon molecules the same way nature and our cherished maple syrup manufacturers do: to create an irresistible aroma.

Safety Concerns according to from FAO/WHO Food Additive Evaluations — JECFA : No safety concern at current levels of intake when used as a flavoring agent.

What's Inside #WineWednesday

Let’s play a game: name two things Sauvignon Blanc & Cabernet Sauvignon have in common.

We’ll give you the easy answer: they both make you feel like you belong in a tux at the opera when you say them. Don’t forget- pinkies up, please. The less obvious answer: sommeliers and wine connoisseurs describe them both as “green wines.”

No, not like St. Patrick’s Day wine.

While one is white and the other is red, both are called green wines because of a naturally occurring molecule. With the help of our Ava Winery sommeliers and scientists, we are using science to uncover the hundreds of molecules (read: ingredients) in your wine. And because of Ava’s methodologies, we can reproduce your favorite Sauvignon at a fraction of the cost for your weekly #WineWednesday enjoyment.

Facing the Science

Molecule names, especially ones like this where you add numbers to your letters, are a bit overwhelming. The uncertainty of it makes it seem unsafe or dare we say, “nonorganic.” But we’re here to show you these molecules (read ingredients) are the exact same molecules in your Sauvignon Blanc from Napa, your bell peppers, and even your roasted peanut bar snacks.

So, what’s in #WineWednesday:


Chemical Name: 3-Isobutyl-2-Methoxypyrazine (aka Grindstaff pyrazine)
Class: Methoxypyrazine
Smell: Bell Peppers
Color: Colorless

Uses: Grindstaff pyrazine is used as a food additive to evoke an earthy, “green” flavor. It’s also used as an aroma compounds for many fragrances.

Where it’s found in nature: 3-isobutyl-2-methoxypyrazine is most readily found in peppers — anywhere from bell to banana, chili to cayenne. Grindstaff pyrazine is also found naturally in underripe grapes, potato products and cooked beef. You could enjoy an entire meal containing 3-isobutyl-2-methoxypyrazine — shepherds pie with wine, anyone?

Product Goods: Grindstaff pyrazine is one of the most odor intensive compounds on earth. The human nose can smell concentrations of Grindstaff pyrazine below the parts per trillion level — that’s less than a drop in an Olympic swimming pool. Because of its intensity, Grindstaff pyrazine is often used for fragrances. And since it is naturally-occurring and completely safe for children, Grindstaff pyrazine is also found in detergents, candles, deodorants, gums and candies.

How We Use It @AvaWineryWe use 3-isobutyl-2-methoxypyrazinethe same way nature and your favorite vineyards do: to give your favorite Sauvignon their green notes.

Safety Concerns according to from FAO/WHO Food Additive Evaluations — JECFA 
There are currently no safety concern at levels of intake of 3-isobutyl-2-methoxypyrazine when used as a flavoring agent.

What’s Inside #WineWednesday?

Think your glass of Pinot Noir is simply a mix of grapes, yeast and water? Ever wondered why it’s colored? Why some wines are dry and others are velvety? And what makes it smell like, well, wine?

The answer may surprise you.

While the grapes, the water, and the tannins all aid in giving your favorite bottle its taste, it’s the esters, pyrazines, and terpenes that are the real MVP’s in making you crave your #WineWednesday drink.

With a team of sommeliers and scientists at Ava Winery, we are using science to uncover the hundreds of molecules (read ingredients) in your wine. Once we know the ingredients, we find exact molecules from other sources to rebuild your luxury wine molecule by molecule. The good news is because of science, we can reproduce a $10,000 bottle of wine at a fraction of the cost and have it consistently taste like every #WineWednesday should.

Facing the Science
We know molecule names are a bit terrifying and can even make this seem unsafe. So we’re here to introduce you to these molecules (read: ingredients). The exact same molecules in your Napa Valley wine, your Tropicana orange juice, or even those organic strawberries from the farmers market.

So, what’s inside #WineWednesday:

Chemical Name: Ethyl Butanoate
Class: Esters- a type of organic molecule that occurs naturally in fruit
Smell: Grapes
Color: Colorless

Uses: Ethyl Butanoate is one of the most popular molecules used in flavors and fragrances. From orange juice to perfume, we use Ethyl Butanoate nearly everyday.

Where it’s found in nature: All about organic or just desiring to eat healthy? These natural foods all contain Ethyl Butanoate:

apples, apricots, bananas, plums, tangerines, pineapples, strawberries, kiwis, melons, guava, Japanese muskmelons, passionfruit, papaya, and grapefruit juice.

Product Goods: Ethyl Butanoate isn’t listed as an ingredient in these products, but it is one of the many molecules responsible for some of our favorite tastes. Choice drinks from the start of the day: milk, orange juice and coffee, to the end of the day: rum, brandy, beer, sake and wine, all contain Ethyl Butanoate molecules within. Treats like gum and hard candy can thank Ethyl Butanoate for their tutti frutti flavors. And summertime perfumes, air care products, laundry products, and personal care products all smell delightful because of Ethyl Butanoate.

Why plants make it: We’ll keep it short… as plants make energy, they naturally make Ethyl Butanoate. It’s similar to going hard on #MotivationMonday and sweating as a result. The right recipe of a splash of energy and specific enzymes leads to plants creating the molecule that helps your wine smell like grape-goodness.

How We Use It @AvaWineryWe use Ethyl Butanoate molecules the same way nature and your favorite vineyards do: for flavor and aroma.

Safety Concerns: According to the FAO/WHO Food Additive Evaluations-JECFAthere are no safety concerns at current levels of intake when consumed from natural foods or when used separately as a flavor.