Coming to your white wines soon!

Karien O'Kennedy - 05 Apr 2016

Two products that are in the final stages of OIV approval for use in winemaking are pure glutathione and Proctase. Glutathione is a very powerful anti-oxidant that protects the aroma of thiol-containing white varieties such as Sauvignon blanc, Chenin blanc and Colombard. It also delays the formation of ageing aromas and in doing so, increases the shelf life of white wines. Currently the only way to legally add glutathione to juice and wine is via the addition of inactivated yeast based fermentation activators containing glutathione and glutathione precursors.

Proctase, the commercial name for a revolutionary protease is the new solution for preventing protein instability in white wines. “Proctase is used to treat haze-forming proteins in grape juice, prior to fermentation. After Proctase is added, the juice is heated for one minute. This unfolds the proteins, making them susceptible to enzyme attack. The juice is then cooled before being fermented as normal.” According to Dr. Pierre van Rensburg, Research Group Manager at Distell’s Innovation Department, they have trialled the enzyme experimentally with great results. Proctase is already legal for use in Australia and New Zealand due to their Food Standards Australian New Zealand (FSANZ) approving an application from the AWRI in 2014.

Once the OIV has approved the use of pure glutathione and Proctase for winemaking the European Union (EU) legalises it a few months later. These products are then legal for use in commercial winemaking within the EU. OIV member countries need to make separate applications for legalisation in their respective countries. Legalisation procedure time in countries such as the USA and South Africa can be quite lengthy, albeit for different reasons. The Department of Viticulture and Oenology, Stellenbosch University has done extensive research on glutathione in the past (Winetech funded) and will continue to do so as to provide industry with clear usage guidelines, once legal. An application for legalisation of both products will be lodged with the Food Safety and Quality Assurance Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of South Africa soon.

OIV 2015

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