Sunshine may cause wine to ‘smell like rotten eggs’ - here’s why

We’re enjoying some hot weather in Scotland, but watch out for where you store wine, as the sunshine could cause some unexpected reactions.

Published 18th May 2024
Updated 18 th May 2024

It’s the perfect weather to enjoy a drink outside, but if you’re planning on sipping on some wine in the sunshine, then make sure you don’t leave the bottle in direct sunlight.

Wines that come in clear glass bottles can be subject to what’s known as light strike. This is when the heat from sunshine reacts with amino acids in the wine, resulting in the wine smelling like wet wool or rotten eggs. 

Diana Thompson founder and owner of Wine Events Scotland discussed this at a recent tasting, and even showcased the results.

She said: “Many producers are starting to move away from clear bottles and towards dark green bottles.  You'll notice that wines intended for ageing are usually in dark green bottles thus avoiding light strike. However, rosé in a dark green bottle doesn't quite have the same appeal but it's definitely worth considering. 

“I left a bottle on the windowsill for a few days (to show how this works at a tasting), but light strike can have an effect within as little as 30 minutes. So, if you're enjoying a glass of wine in the sun this weekend, maybe pop the bottle a dark ice bucket.”

Diana Thompson has more than 30 years’ experience in the wine and hospitality sector. Recently awarded The People’s Choice Drinks Awards’ Consumer Drinks Communicator 2024, Thompson is a certified member of the Association of Wine Educators.

Wine Events Scotland is the company behind Edinburgh Uncorked, which is back on 1 June in the Assembly Rooms in Edinburgh.

wine rotten eggs
Wine being poured at Edinburgh Uncorked

Hosted by wine expert Susy Atkins, the second year of this event will introduce a diverse range of wines from around the world to as wide an audience as possible. 

The idea is to break down barriers to appreciating and enjoying wine. This is a chance for anyone keen to learn about wine – as well as for those with a deeper knowledge -  to enjoy the full wine experience, with a unique chance to compare and contrast wine styles, as well as wines from different producers, including sparkling, white, rosé, and red, to deliciously decadent dessert wines.

Edinburgh Uncorked brings together more than 25 diverse wine producers and makers. The event grew from Thompson’s Facebook group of the same name, which shares recommendations of delicious, well-priced, wines discovered by the public across the city.

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Edinburgh Uncorked takes place on Saturday 1 June 2024, with a choice of two sessions from 12-3pm or 4-7pm at The Assembly Rooms, George Street, Edinburgh.

Tickets cost £30 per person from the Wine Events Scotland website.

Wine Events Scotland, Eildon Terrace, Edinburgh, UK
Wine Events Scotland, Eildon Terrace, Edinburgh, UK, EH3 5LU
Known for cake making, experimental jam recipes, Champagne, whisky and gin drinking (and the inability to cook Gnocchi), Rosalind is the Food and Drink Editor and whisky writer for The Scotsman, as well as hosting Scran, The Scotsman's food and drink podcast.
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