Environmental friendly wine stabilization by use of biopolymers

Tartaric and protein stabilization are elemental phases of winemaking, particularly for wines exported and sold through organized distribution. The present stabilization practices are effective but have some impacts on wine quality, production cost and environment, and for many decades the European wine producers have looked for alternatives. A possible solution is offered by the use of biopolymers, i.e. compounds of natural origin, obtained from secondary products of the agro-food industry and already exploited in pharmaceutical and cosmetic sectors. Some biopolymers, indeed, can selectively absorb the instable protein fractions of wine and can thus represent an interesting alternative to the present extensive use of bentonite as absorbing material. Others have molecular dimension and structure that can avoid crystallisation and then precipitation of tartaric salts and, once added to wine, can substitute some present practices for tartaric stabilization that have high economic and environmental costs. Biopolymers are suitable candidates to provide producers new flexible, selective and inexpensive tools for wine stabilization, more respectful of wine quality and environment, and well tuned with the requests of modern wine consumers. The identification and the study of the best biopolymers for winemaking is the object of a research project leaded by three association of producers: AIAB, Associazione Italiana per l’Agricoltura Biologica, which is project coordinator, InterRhône, representing the stakeholders of the second most important wine region of France, and the Consejo Regulador of the small but dynamic Spanish appellation Cariñena. Together with the Portuguese Falua, and the Greek Alpha Estate, both prestigious wine producers, the three associations have entrusted the research to a group of specialized centres, including experts of polymeric materials (Department of Chemistry IFM of the University of Turin, Italy), of oenology and winemaking techniques (CRA Centro per l’Enologia in Asti, Italy, the Institut Français de la Vigne et du Vin, the Laboratorio de Analisis de Aroma y Enologia of the University of Zaragoza, Spain, and the Australian Wine Research Institute placed in Adelaide, SA), of environmental impact of human activities (FIRAB, Fondazione Italiana per la Ricerca in Agricoltura Biologica) and of toxicology (Department of Pharmacological Sciences, University of Milan, Italy). The project consortium is completed by the Italian company Esseco, which will take care of the exploitation of the project foreground, and by the SME Vinidea whose task is to guarantee the dissemination of the results to wide stakeholder of European wine professionals. The project, named STABIWINE, is developed within the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme managed by REA - Research Executive Agency – under the grant agreement n. 314903; it started on September 2012 and will be completed before the end of 2015. The project updating will be available on the project website .
Published on 10/08/2012
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