Low- and no- alcohol wine products – understanding technical and sensory-related challenges and opportunities
This project seeks to define the desirable sensory attributes of existing low- and no-alcohol wines or beverages in the market and use this information to support development of wine-like beverages that can satisfy consumers’ demands. This project will also evaluate production practices, technologies and ingredients required to give low- and no-alcohol products the palate attributes found in full-bodied dry wine.
This industry and sensory-led project aims to identify:
- desirable sensory attributes of existing low- and no-alcohol wine and beverages in the market to provide a basis for changing production approaches for wine-based and wine-like beverages made from grapes with zero and less than 5% alcohol
- production practices, technologies and ingredients required for low- and no-alcohol imitations of full-bodied dry wine.
Industry reference group
An industry reference group was formed from a diverse range of stakeholders along the supply chain. The group was engaged to evaluate sector interest in no- and low-alcohol wine products and to help establish relevant researchable questions. This group will continue to be involved with this project as it moves forward.
Sensory analysis of commercially available products
Preliminary sensory evaluations were completed on more than 90 low- and no-alcohol products available in Australia, including sparkling, white and red wine products, beer, cider and spirits. From these products, a subset were selected based on a range of sensory properties and quality designations. These products were subjected to more rigorous sensory evaluations: quantitative descriptive analysis and the Pivot©profile rapid sensory method. Results highlighted the wide range of sensory attributes associated with these products, while also showing the attributes perceived as most ‘wine-like’. These products will also undergo comprehensive chemical analysis, which, when evaluated with the sensory profiles, should offer insight into production methods and characteristics that are best suited to these products.
Alcohol removal technology
Various methods for the removal of alcohol were evaluated through communication with producers as well as review of existing literature. Methods such as spinning cone column (SCC), reverse osmosis (RO), vacuum distillation, nanofiltration, freeze concentration, evaporation and extraction with organic or supercritical solvents, and resin adsorption are all options for removing alcohol from wine. However, only SCC and RO technologies are commonly used in the wine industry. Spinning cone column tends to be the preferred choice for the production of wines with an alcohol content of < 0.5% v/v while RO dealcoholisation tends to be used for low-alcohol products > 5% v/v.
Leigh Francis, Wes Pearson