Sniff Sniff…Is that Ladybug I smell?

Back in 2001 I was working in NYC, living in Hoboken and my commute was horrendous…it literally took me an hour and a half (or more depending on delays) on a combination of the PATH, the Subway and walking 22 blocks to get to work. I picked up the habit of buying the NY Post on the first leg of my commute, mainly for Page Six, I will admit, but I also read the news, and then the New York Times on the second half. To this day, I still read both of those papers online, plus a handful or more other papers.

I have to say, in all those years, this is the first time I recall the Post having a news article (I rarely even recall a wine review to be honest) about wine that didn’t involve stolen wine.

Apparently there is a new threat to the aroma of wine: Ladybugs. While good for pest control, it has been found by a new Iowa State University study that Ladybugs emit a foul smelling liquid that can be detected in very small amounts by the human nose. Likened to the scent of green peppers and roasted peanuts, the aroma has been dubbed “Ladybug Taint” and is reportedly becoming more common in wine. The article isn’t long, you can find the AP text here.

The article asserts that the Ladybugs are being mixed into the grapes during the fermentation process. I will have to poke around the internet today to see if I can’t find out anything more, but if for nothing else, “Ladybug Taint” made me chuckle this morning.


9 Responses

  1. Being an “attempting” gardner, I do love the ladybugs because they like to munch on those bad guys who attack my cayenne peppers. And yes, they do have a distinct smell to them, but…they are so cute and colorful!
    Too funny that you mentioned the Earthquake wine as I just saw it at the supermarket yesterday. I will pick up a bottle this week and let you know what I think.

  2. I agree winedeb, they are pretty little bugs. Definitely let me know what you think of the Earthquake Pinot. I remember it being much better than the Stony Block!

  3. If you are interested in my own real life experience with ladybugs in my wine, check out this post.

    I can’t let the description of your commute go by without some mention. Whoa. All that way from NJ and then you still need to walk 22 blocks? Was it for the exercise or did you work at the Chelsea piers or something? Seems like you found a hole in the city’s public transit system!

  4. Huh, so you really can taste the ladybugs? That’s so interesting. I was laughing when I read it in the Post this morning!

    I lived 14 blocks from the PATH train in NJ 😦 Then the closest Subway stop for me to get to without transferring trains for a 3rd time was 8 blocks from my work in Midtown.

  5. Ladybug taint, good catch, never heard of that before. Dok, you sure are making a great case for the Hillebrand Cab Franc.

  6. Joe-It was a new one on me too! I had no idea ladybugs even smelled bad, but then again, I don’t make a habit of squishing them, so…

  7. Sonadora,

    I get your math now. I forgot that you start out walking when you leave your house. Odd to say it, but I have always been envious of a NYC commit long to read two newspapers, including one as extensive as the Times. You must’ve been a real authority on current events!


    You are very observant. A tainted 2001 Cab Franc was the reason I got upgraded to the 2000 Showcase. In case it wasn’t clear, the Ontario ladybug taint found in several 2001 cuvées was the result of a severe scourge — like locusts back in biblical times — it’s not going to happen again! Or least not before the Apocalypse at which point a case for Ontario wine isn’t so important.

  8. Ladybugs are always a welcome sight in my rose garden. Roses and grapes are very similar in the disease and insect department. I think I would rather risk ladybug taint (tell everyone the wine has a splash of Carmenere or Cab Franc in it)to a destroyed vineyard due to a predator like leafhoppers.

  9. Marcus, I was up on the news, if I can’t really say anything else good about that stint of my life, I can at least say that!

    Catie, I like that thinking. I see that Marcus has had a ladybug bottle and I am now incredibly curious to smell this for myself.

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