Research into sulphite-free wine launched30th June, 2014 by Neal Baker
Research is going into a new wine preservation technique which aims to remove the need for allergy-causing sulphites in the production process.
‘Cold pasteurisation’ – so-called because it spares heat-sensitive ingredients – is the innovative process involving pressurised gas for the killing of food-spoling microbes which was initially developed by a German company for fruit juices.
However, the potential for this technique in wine production is now being realised after EU funding has been granted to a consortium of eight research institutes from across Europe.
With this process a chemically inert gas such as nitrogen or argon is dissolved in wine at a high pressure. The gas diffuses into microbial cells, before the pressure is quickly dropped back to normal, causing it to expand and the cells to explode.
Having returned to a gaseous state, the gas can then removed to be reused for the same process.
“We have shown that the colour of the wine is maintained over time during storage in barrels or bottles, and in wine tastings, we found that the taste is not affected,” says Ana Lucia Vasquez-Caicedo, a food technologist at the Stuttgart-based Fraunhofer Institute for Interfacial Engineering and Biotechnology, a leading member of the consortium.
The new preservation method can be used in different stages of wine production, and there are plans to roll the process out to various wineries across the continent for further experiments.