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Keeping Wine Fine for a Longer Time

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Doctoral candidate Gal Kreitman and assistant professor Ryan Elias found that an additive may help curb a chemical reaction that causes wine to look, smell, and taste funky. The researchers added chelation compounds that bind with metals to inhibit oxidation, or oxygen’s ability to react with some of the trace metals that are found in the wine.

"Oxidation has several bad effects on wine, such as discoloration and a loss of aroma," said Kreitman. "It can cause browning, as well as the loss of fruity characteristics, something that is much more noticeable in white wines."

Because two types of oxidation states—iron 2 and iron 3—are present in wine, the researchers looked at iron 2 and iron 3 chelators. Both types of chelators significantly inhibited the oxidation in the wine, said Kreitman.

Winemakers have previously attempted to control oxidation in the wine by stripping out the metals, which are acquired through the soil and from the grapes. However, Kreitman said those processes are impractical and expensive.

She added that further research would be needed to find chelators that are food safe. While there are chelators that are safe for consumption, many have yet to be approved for food-making and winemaking processes.

Matthew Swayne