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Lactic acid reduces off aromas, allergic reactions: study

People who suffer allergic reactions to wine could soon be happily drinking their favourite cru classe, a study has found.

According to the study, carried out at Bordeaux University, adding lactic bacteria to the wine must could reduce the compounds – biogenic amines – that create off aromas, and induce allergies in some wine consumers.

The study evaluated 264 Bordeaux wines from the 2005 and 2006 vintages.

Bordeaux University enology professor Patrick Lucas told the French publication Viti-Net that ‘less than 3% of the wines contained no biogenic amines. 70% contained substantial amounts often beyond 1 milligram per litre.’

Tests indicated that adding lactic bacteria to the must in the successful reduction of biogenic amines and undesirable bacteria. It also promoted quicker malolactic fermentation.

‘It is a very interesting study,’ Jean-Michel Laporte of Chateau La Conseillante in Pomerol said.

But the method could be costly for some estates, Laporte told decanter.com. La Conseillante invested about €700 to add lactic bacteria to the must during alcoholic fermentation for the 2008 vintage.

‘We did not know about the potential positive effects at the time. We needed the wine to go through both alcoholic and malolactic fermentation more quickly because of the construction of a new cellar,’ he explained.

‘My oenologist since told me about the potential positive effects, that the wine could be cleaner by adding the lactic bacteria either at the very beginning of the alcoholic fermentation or just at the end,’ Laporte said.

Normally malolactic fermentation occurs naturally, but by inducing it to take place just after alcoholic fermentation, the process takes place more quickly.

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Written by Panos Kakaviatos

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