Searching for the sweet spot: a focus on wine dealcoholization
It is well known that the vinification of grapes at full maturation can produce rich, full-bodied wines, with intense and complex flavour profiles. However, the juice obtained from such grapes may have very high sugar concentration, resulting in wines with an excessive concentration of ethanol. In addition, the decoupling between technological maturity and phenolic/aromatic one due to global warming, exacerbates this problem in some wine-growing regions. In parallel with the increase of the mean alcohol content of wines on the market, also the demand for reduced alcohol beverages has increased in recent years, mainly as a result of health and social concerns about the risks related to the consumption of alcohol. Moreover, an excessive ethanol content may result in wines with an unbalanced flavour. For this reason, wine dealcoholization is currently one of the most important issues for the wine industry and wine research.
Several dealcoholization techniques, mainly based on vacuum distillation and membrane separation techniques, are available to reduce wine alcohol content at different levels. However, the main concern about wine dealcoholization, most of all when it is applied as a corrective oenological practice, is the possible loss of sensory active compounds during the process. Considerable research has therefore been undertaken over the past ~15 years to understand the impact of wine dealcoholization on wine quality. This lecture will provide an overview on wine dealcoholization, with particular emphasis on its effects on wine chemical composition and sensory characteristics.
Issue: OENO Macrowine 2023
Universit. degli Studi di Napoli Federico II Italy