Novel fining agents to heat stabilise wine

Summary

Objectives

To identify the characteristics of pectins and carrageenans that makes them suitable for use as absorbents for protein removal from white wines and to develop guidelines for their use in wine processing.

Background

Previous work has demonstrated that carrageenans and pectins are able to heat stabilise juice and wine, and have insignificant impact on wine quality and thus are potential alternatives to bentonite. These polysaccharides are also used in brewing. There remains a need for development in this area before these new absorbents and processing aids can be adopted.

Research approach

The proposal plans to develop a new protein stabilisation method and it will assess how to incorporate this new process with existing winemaking processes, leading to enhanced process efficiency.

The team will screen a range of commercially available pectins and carrageenans for their effectiveness and impact on wine and develop guidelines for their use in wine processing, including whether they can be added and removed at the same time as other additives and absorbents. The mechanism of action will be determined through characterisation of the polysaccharides and then linking structure with function.

The team will also undertake cost-benefit analysis and develop the business case for the use of these new absorbents.

Industry benefit

The knowledge and methods developed in this project will provide winemakers with a novel fining agent that will achieve heat stability of white wine with minimal negative side effects and improved wine processing efficiency.