Use of ultrasounds to accelerate aging on lees of red wines

Aging on lees (AOL) is a powerful technique to protect varietal aroma and color. Simultaneously, helps to soften tannins and increase and improve wine body and structure. AOL is complementary to barrel aging modulating the wood impact and protecting wine from oxidative conditions. The main drawback is that the yeast autolysis developed during AOL is a slow process, taking at least one year to produce the degradation of cell structures and the significant release of yeast polysaccharides and other cell components to modify the sensory profile of wine. This process can be accelerated by using enzymes or thermal treatments and also using non-Saccharomyces yeasts. The use of ultrasounds (USs) is an alternative technology to break the yeast cells and to speed the autolysis process. US are high intensity sound waves that by cavitation, local heating produce the disruption of the cells and the extraction and release of proteins, polysaccharides, and other cell components. When USs are used directly in wines under AOL the thermal collateral effects produce undesired oxidations and affect wine quality even when the release of cell wall polysaccharides is accelerated. The application of USs to yeast biomasses exogenically produced help to overwhelm this inconvenience. Cell breakage and disaggregation is produced in a few minutes by using US and therefore facilitating a faster AOL process. US can be a useful technology to improve and accelerate the AOL of red wines.

Authors: Antonio MORATA1*, Juan Manuel del Fresno1, Iris Loira1, Rafael Cuerda2, Carmen González1, José Antonio Suárez Lepe1

1 enotecUPM, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, Madrid, Spain
2 Comenge Cellars, Curiel de Duero, Valladolid, Spain 

*Email: antonio.morata@upm.es

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