Lowering wine's sulfite content

Lowering sulfites to the minimum level possible while keeping wine sensory features is the new way forward.

Removing sulfites from winemaking protocols is not really the key issue today. A lot of wines are now produced around the world with no to very low levels of total sulfites measurable within the final wine.

The key question is much more how to make a wine that contains the lowest possible level of sulfites AND all the features of a good-quality wine: a bright, appealing color; a complex, multiple-layer flavor profile including the original, fruit-forward flavors from the grapes; and a good and balanced taste where ethyl acetate and acetic acid are not overly expressed.

This is the real challenge, and Chr. Hansen has the right diagnosis tools and toolbox to make this a success through partnerships with our customers.

First stage: diagnosis

The primary question is to fully understand, together with the winery, when and why sulfites are used during the process and how many sulfites are produced during alcoholic fermentation by the yeasts.

From there we can define tactics to dramatically reduce or remove sulfites from the process and, when necessary, to replace them with other solutions. These can be either physical (such as by using of inert gases to avoid oxidation) or microbial (such as using VINIFLORA® specialty yeasts and enological bacteria).

The key role of metagenomics tools to monitor and adjust winemaking protocols

Our pioneer role in metagenomics for wine gives Chr. Hansen a lead when it comes to visualizing the dynamics of microbes from the vineyards to the wine bottle. With this powerful investigative tool, we can help design the best solution to bio-protect the grapes, the must or the wine depending on the risks identified.

Do we have to fight against the early presence of Acetobacter in the must? If so, we recommend the use of our Lactobacillus plantarum solution.

Do we want to protect against Brettanomyces contamination during a pre-alcoholic fermentation cold maceration? In that case, we recommend the use of our Torulaspora delbrueckii product PRELUDE™.

Do we want to protect against Brettanomyces installation after alcoholic fermentation? Then, it is much more a matter of using our direct inoculation VINIFLORA® bacteria in late co-inoculation in the tail-end of alcoholic fermentation.

Our solid presence within the wine industry has led to many other examples of VINIFLORA® usage, which you too can use to help reduce or even remove the use of sulfites from your winemaking. Contact our team of experts if you want to know more about how VINIFLORA® solutions can help you deliver safer, better and more authentic wines.

Share this with: