What's Inside #WineWednesday: Vanillin

It’s June! Welcome warm summer days spent with your friends drinking white wines and cool nights spent under the stars drinking red wines. Do you taste the warm, comforting notes in your drink? The one that smells like walking into a kitchen of fresh baked cookies? That familiar taste and smell is thanks to the molecule vanillin.

Facing the Science: Molecules are at the core of everything you love. At Ava we use them to make drinks you love — specifically, world class wine. Every #WineWednesday, you can bet we’ll show up to tell you about yet another molecule that adds to your enjoyment while sipping from your glass. This week you can add Vanillin to your rolodex of new science terms!

So, what’s in #WineWednesday:

Chemical Name: Vanillin
Class: Phenolic Aldehyde
Smell: Vanilla
Color: White / Off-White

Uses: As a flavor, vanilla used as a flavoring agent can be traced back to the Aztecs in the 1500s. Synthetic production of vanillin can be traced back as far as 1874. Since then, the demand of the vanilla taste has continued to increase surpassing the production of vanilla beans. This has caused food companies to produce more and more synthetic vanilla (like the brown bottle in your kitchen cabinet that is, yes, synthetic!) Anytime you taste a mildly sweet and comforting warm note, whether you’re munching on a baguette dipped in olive oil or enjoying your fruit serving for the day, you can bet vanillin is involved. Vanillin is present in a range of edible and inedible products used daily — from your morning croissant and coffee to your spritz of Oscar de la Renta perfume on your way out the door!

Where it’s found in nature: Vanillin can be found in a variety of places in nature, from Brazilian orchids to Colombian coffee beans and even the peel of your Idaho potatoes. It’s in strawberries, cloves, and whole-grains! Those pleasant smells of nature are in large part due to the vanillin molecule.

Uses in Product Goods: The cork in your favorite wine bottle, the whiskey aging in your cellar, the baby powder in your medicine cabinet, and the ice cream in your freezer all have something in common: Vanillin! The molecule is used in all kinds of products for taste and perfumes for smell. And the Cream Soda you randomly crave? Vanillin is responsible for a good deal of the flavor inside the dreamy drink!