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Evaluation of new technologies for the reduction of sulphur dioxide in wines

The sulphites present in wines are known for their allergic impact in more sensitive people. The project therefore aims to develop a new technology that reduces or even eliminates the need to use sulphur dioxide in wines, using chitosane.

The main objective of this project is the development of a new technological strategy that allows the reduction or even the elimination of the sulphur dioxide in wines in the different stages of vinification, ageing and bottling. The addition of sulphur dioxide to wines inhibits the growth of wine-spoiling micro-organisms, and acts as an antioxidant, preventing the browning of wine. But people’s allergies to this chemical compound are becoming more frequent. For this, it is extremely important in the competitive wine market to design a strategy to reduce or eliminate the use of sulphur dioxide as a preservative in wines. The development of treatments that use physical-chemical processes and the addition of natural compounds can allow efficient wine conservation and the maintenance or improvement of its sensorial and nutritional characteristics without the need to add sulphur dioxide. The wine treatment through high pressure is a recently proposed technology to reduce the micro-organism quantity and the addition of chitosane, a polysaccharide obtained from the deacetylation of chitin, showing antioxidant properties that inhibit the white wine browning. In this work we intend to study the sulphur dioxide substitution by the use of three technologies that will be studied alone and in combination: chitosane contact, high pressure and addition of sesquiterpenoids, grape natural compounds found in the skins that have known antioxidant activity and that were never valorised. The efficiency of these treatments as substitutes of sulphur dioxide will be evaluated by microbiological, physical-chemical and sensorial analysis in a direct collaboration between two Portuguese institutions, the wine producing company DAO SUL and AVEIRO UNIVERSITY, allowing the production of wines at the industrial-scale with low quantities of or even no sulphur dioxide.
Acronym: 
WINESULFREE
Project ID: 
4 506
Start date: 
01-01-2009
Project Duration: 
36months
Project costs: 
250 000.00€
Technological Area: 
Drink Technology
Market Area: 
Wine and liquors

Raising the productivity and competitiveness of European businesses through technology. Boosting national economies on the international market, and strengthening the basis for sustainable prosperity and employment.