The alcoholic content of wine has crept gradually northward in the last 10-15 years, from 12-12.5 percent to beyond 15 percent. What might sound trivial to aficionados of hard liquor is seen by some oenophiles as a disturbing trend, threatening the flavor and character of some wines. That, plus issues of public health, as well as taxes (in some countries, on alcoholic content), have created a need for approaches to lowering alcohol content.
The investigation began with a systematic screening of non-Saccharomyces yeast as a means of achieving such a reduction, says corresponding author Cristian Varela of the Australian Wine Research Institute, Adelaide, South Australia. The investigators evaluated 50 different isolates from 40 species and 24 genera for their capacity to produced wine with reduced ethanol concentration. They chose the most successful of these yeasts, Metschnikowia pulcherrima AWRI1149, for experiments in which it was set to work separately on Chardonnay and Shiraz musts.
Once the slower-growing Metschnikowia yeasts had consumed 50 percent of the sugar, S. cerevisiae were added to the mix to complete the process. This "sequential inoculation" reduced the alcohol content in Shiraz from 15 percent to 13.4 percent (and somewhat less in Chardonnay). Controls not inoculated with non-Saccharomyces strains did not produce reduced alcohol content, according to the report.
"The reduction isn't all that great, but it's in the right direction, and with more work, they might get that even lower, perhaps by letting the non-Saccharomyces yeast go longer before you throw in the Saccharomyces, says Alan Bakalinsky, of Oregon State University, Corvallis, who was not involved in the research.
This reduction in alcohol will be of great benefit to the industry says Louisa Rose, of Yalumba and Hill-Smith Family Vinyards, Angaston, South Australia, who is also a director of the Australian Wine Research Institute. "It is using techniques—sequential fermentation—that can easily be used in the winery on a commercial scale."
Previous studies investigating the effects of non-Saccharomyces yeasts on alcoholic fermentation have focused on few species and been concerned principally with the formation of the flavor compounds that might impact negatively on wine quality. None of these led to reductions in alcohol content as substantial as those he reported, says Varela.
The rise in alcohol content in wine has resulted from later harvesting of red grapes. This allows the tannins—responsible for astringency and bitterness—to soften, and in some varieties, it helps minimize the presence of off-flavors, like methoxypyrazines (green pepper/asparagus sensory notes.) But on the downside, the boost in alcohol content reduces aroma and flavor intensity, as well as otherwise impairing the oenological experience. Reducing the alcohol would enable the best of both worlds.
It would also reduce consumer costs in countries where alcohol consumption is taxed, and accede to national and international public health recommendations to lower the alcohol content of alcoholic beverages, such as wine.
A copy of the manuscript can be found online at http://bit.ly/asmtip0114f. The final version of the article is scheduled for the March 2014 issue of Applied and Environmental Microbiology.
Applied and Environmental Microbiology is a publication of the American Society for Microbiology (ASM). The ASM is the largest single life science society, composed of over 39,000 scientists and health professionals. Its mission is to advance the microbiological sciences as a vehicle for understanding life processes and to apply and communicate this knowledge for the improvement of health and environmental and economic well-being worldwide.
Jim Sliwa | EurekAlert!
Shark Tagged by NSU’s Guy Harvey Research Institute Is Apparently Enjoying Time in Warm, Tropical Waters
30.03.2015 | Nova Southeastern University
Misuse of Sustainability Concept May Lead to Even More Toxic Chemical Materials
30.03.2015 | Zelinsky Institute of Organic Chemistry, Russian Academy of Sciences
In an experiment at the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, scientists precisely measured the temperature and structure of aluminum as...
The IPH presents a solution at HANNOVER MESSE 2015 to make ship traffic more reliable while decreasing the maintenance costs at the same time. In cooperation with project partners, the research institute from Hannover, Germany, has developed a sensor system which continuously monitors the condition of the marine gearbox, thus preventing breakdowns. Special feature: the monitoring system works wirelessly and energy-autonomously. The required electrical power is generated where it is needed – directly at the sensor.
As well as cars need to be certified regularly (in Germany by the TÜV – Technical Inspection Association), ships need to be inspected – if the powertrain stops...
When an earthquake hits, the faster first responders can get to an impacted area, the more likely infrastructure--and lives--can be saved.
The Atlantic overturning is one of Earth’s most important heat transport systems, pumping warm water northwards and cold water southwards. Also known as the Gulf Stream system, it is responsible for the mild climate in northwestern Europe.
Scientists now found evidence for a slowdown of the overturning – multiple lines of observation suggest that in recent decades, the current system has been...
Because they are regularly subjected to heavy vehicle traffic, emissions, moisture and salt, above- and underground parking garages, as well as bridges, frequently experience large areas of corrosion. Most inspection systems to date have only been capable of inspecting smaller surface areas.
From April 13 to April 17 at the Hannover Messe (hall 2, exhibit booth C16), engineers from the Fraunhofer Institute for Nondestructive Testing IZFP will be...
25.03.2015 | Event News
19.03.2015 | Event News
17.03.2015 | Event News
30.03.2015 | Press release
30.03.2015 | Life Sciences
30.03.2015 | Earth Sciences