Vinification is a naturally occurring process; we have all experienced a bottle of wine going “vinegary” in the kitchen if left too long, indeed, there are many people who produce their own vinegar by such methods. However, in most cases, the natural vinegar forming bacteria – acetobacter – don’t convert all the alcohol to acetic acid, and the two then chemically react with one another to form ethyl acetate (smells like nail polish remover!). A key factor in the fermentation of great vinegar is therefore ensuring as much of the alcohol is converted to acetic acid as possible, and in order to do this it is necessary to have an acetifier. Essentially, an acetifier is a large tank or tower; it is temperature controlled – acetobacter have a tendency to get a little over excited during a fermentation, and such is their frenzy they can overheat and die. The acetobacter also need a ready supply of oxygen pumped through the tank to keep fermenting, and this is introduced to the fermentation as tiny bubbles.
John Chevallier Guild created his own fermenter to make vinegar in a totally unique way.
In the 1970’s, John Chevallier Guild pioneered the utterly unique trickle feed Marjoribanks (pr Marchbanks) Method, a process we used to ferment our Organic Cyder Vinegars for almost 40 years. Today we use the industry standard batch method Frings Acetator. Whilst we ensure as much of the alcohol as possible is converted to acetic acid, in truth it is impossible to remove all the alcohol and there will always be a tiny residual amount, but not to a level that affects taste adversely. Our cyder and wine vinegars contain less than 0.3% alcohol.