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Fruit Flies & Hot Petite Sirah: Wine Wizard

QI am following the recipe for tomato wine from the August-September 2002 issue. The recipe says to loosely cover the must in the primary fermenter with a plastic sheet. But after about seven days, I noticed what I call “gnats” buzzing in and around the must. Will I have to throw this batch away? And what should I do to keep this from happening again? Ricky Lanier via email AMy condolences on experiencing your first visitation by the ever present, but never welcome, Drosophila melanogaster — more commonly known as the common fruit fly. These prolific and pesky little airborne bugs are the bane of not only the home winemaker, but of anyone who has left a peach to rot in the kitchen fruit bowl, whose daughter forgot to take out the recycling or whose compost pile has gotten a little out of hand. Fruit files are attracted to the aromas of fruits and vegetables, especially those that are rotting or fermenting. Their small size means that they might slip your notice for a day or two . . .