Proteins occurring in wine originate from several sources during the winemaking process. Protein content in wines ranges from traces up to hundreds of mg/L, and may cause physical instability in white wine, inducing haze formation, clouding, and precipitation.
Research studies have highlighted a prominent role of Pathogenesis-Related Proteins (PRP) in wine instability. White wines are especially prone to protein instability, since they lack sufficient tannins to cause initial protein precipitation; hence, when subjected to temperature fluctuation, residual PRP could aggregate to other small proteins or minor quantities of reactive phenols, then flocculate and precipitate.
Based on this, it can be stated that the removal of pathogenesis-related proteins is a crucial issue for winemakers, in order to guarantee long-term stabilization of commercial wines.
In recent years many studies have been conducted with the aim of finding novel fining agents, and to gain innovative and more sustainable approaches for the stabilization of wines on an industrial scale.
In this view, nanotechnology might represent a valid approach for the design of innovative and tunable absorbing materials.
This scientific work, named “Steady Wine” project, was aimed to evaluate the capacity of novel, food-grade ceramic nanomaterials to adsorb PR proteins in wine.
A laboratory-scale device is currently available, and optimal parameters for the flow treatments, including volumetric flow rates and life cycles of the material, are still object of study in an industrial scaling-up perspective.
Article based on the paper presented at the at the 12th edition of Enoforum (Vicenza, Italy, May 21-23, 2019).