Removal of white wine heat unstable proteins by using proteases and flash pasteurization-comparison with bentonites treatments

White wine protein haze can be prevented by removing the grape juice proteins, currently achieved by bentonite addition. To avoid wine volume loss and to minimizes aroma stripping, degrading haze-forming proteins in wine with proteases is a particularly interesting alternative to bentonite. 

In the present study, two fungal proteases treatments combined with different heating (50, 60, 72 °C) + refreshing steps, were applied on Gewürztraminer grape juice, and compared to bentonite treatments. The impact of these 19 treatments on the wine haze risks was determined by using two heat tests at 50 °C (heating during 30 to 120 min) and 80 °C (heating during 5 to 60 min). The protein contents and compositions were also estimated using the SDS-PAGE + densitometric integration techniques. 

The heat instability tests of the 19 wines show strongly different results according to the test used. With the 50 °C heating tests, the wines showed logarithmic curves with a maximal value reached in 30 min. At the opposite, after the 80 °C heating tests, the white wines showed a linear increase of the turbidity during the 60 min of the heating, leading to linear curves with R2>0.99. Moreover, the turbidities observed were much higher when the wines were heated at 80 °C when compared with the wines after the 50°C tests. These results clearly pointed out the discrepancies between the test selected to estimate a white wine haze risk and the treatment necessary to avoid a haze after bottling. 

Concerning the wines obtained after juice bentonite treatments, we observed a dose effect with a high correlation at 50°C between the dose of swelling clay and the wine haze risk. 60 g/hL were necessary to reach the colloidal stability, whatever the test used (50 or 80 °C) and the heating time. The addition of proteases at 50 °C or 60 °C during 1 hr before a quick increase at 72 °C (as recommended by the OIV) and refreshing in cold water decreased the haze risk by 75 % and 85 % respectively when compared to the control wine, whilst the same heat treatment without enzymes only decreased the haze risk by 28 % and 17 % respectively. 

The ability for enological proteases to hydrolyze grape berry heat unstable proteins (observed by SDS-PAGE) was strongly evidenced with the heat test at 50 °C. Proteases reduced the heat instability by 40 % whilst the heat treatment alone was pretty ineffective. 

This study proved the possibility to use proteases as an efficient treatment to control white wine haze risk.

Author: Richard Marchal

Faculté des Sciences de Reims 
BP1039 – 51687 Reims Cedex02

Email: richard.marchal@univ-reims.fr 

Keywords: proteases, white wine, heat instability tests, proteic composition 

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