Acetone Smell In Wine: What You Need To Know

Red wine image by ישראל Israel פרקר Preker on Israeli Wines & Wineries


Wine is a beloved beverage around the world, with people enjoying different varieties for their unique flavors and aromas. However, sometimes you may notice a strange smell in your wine that can ruin the experience. One such smell is the acetone smell in wine, which can be off-putting and unpleasant. In this article, we will explore what causes this smell and how to avoid it.

What is Acetone Smell in Wine?

Acetone smell in wine is a fault that occurs when the wine has high levels of ethyl acetate. Ethyl acetate is a compound that is naturally present in wine, but when it is produced in excessive amounts, it can create a nail polish remover-like smell that is similar to acetone. This fault is more common in young wines, as they have not had enough time to mature and develop their flavors.

Causes of Acetone Smell in Wine

Acetone smell in wine can have several causes, including:

  • Use of contaminated barrels or equipment during winemaking
  • Inadequate cleaning and sanitation of winemaking equipment
  • Poor fermentation practices
  • High temperatures during fermentation and storage

How to Detect Acetone Smell in Wine

Acetone smell in wine is easy to detect, as it has a strong, pungent odor that resembles nail polish remover or paint thinner. This odor can be overpowering and can mask other aromas and flavors in the wine. If you notice this smell in your wine, it is best to avoid drinking it, as it can be a sign of spoilage or contamination.

How to Avoid Acetone Smell in Wine

The best way to avoid acetone smell in wine is to ensure that proper winemaking practices are followed. This includes:

  • Using clean and sanitized equipment
  • Controlling fermentation temperatures
  • Using high-quality grapes
  • Avoiding overexposure to oxygen

Additionally, it is important to store wine properly, away from heat and light, and to consume it within a reasonable time frame.


Acetone smell in wine can be a major turnoff for wine enthusiasts, but it is a fault that can be avoided with the right winemaking practices. By taking care to use clean equipment, control fermentation temperatures, and store wine properly, you can enjoy delicious wines without any unpleasant odors or flavors. If you do encounter acetone smell in your wine, it is best to avoid drinking it and seek out a replacement bottle.