A plastic taste and odour detected in wine stored in stainless-steel tanks


During the renovation of a wine warehouse with 18 stainless-steel tanks used for storing wine, an organoleptic deviance involving a plastic taste and odour in the wine stored in the aforementioned tanks was observed by the wine maker.

The wine maker has called into question the subcontractor that provided and connected the hoses which allowed for nitrogen to be pumped into the tanks. Indeed, when the hoses were disconnected, they gave off a strong plastic odour.

Therefore the wine maker requested the destruction of the wine stored in the 18 tanks, as well as the replacement of the hoses.


In agreement with the various parties represented, GM Consultant loss adjusters carried out counter-analyses to determine:

  • whether the wine, although deviant, was fair and marketable
  • whether the hose supplied by the subcontractor was compliant with current food standards; whether the release of molecules originating in the hoses was directly related to the deviation observed in the wine.

The analyses showed that the wine was of fair grade and marketable, and was therefore simply downgraded, limiting the issues at stake in this case. The hose was declared non-compliant with European regulations, but no connection between this non-compliance and the deviance was highlighted. Therefore the liability of the subcontractor was not proven.