Monday, November 22, 2010

Hope for Wine Allergy Sufferers

Around 8% of world population suffer from wine-related allergies but only about 1% of allergies relate to sulphur. Symptoms of wine allergy can range from headaches and stuffy nose to skin rash and a tight chest. But what  triggers the remaining 7% of wine allergies remain a mystery. Or maybe not.

The Journal of Proteome Research reveals a new study showing that glycoproteins (proteins with a carbohydrate molecule attached) might be the cause of wine allergies finding that as many as 28 of the glycoproteins found in an Italian chardonnay had a similar cellular structure to known allergens, including the proteins that cause reactions to ragweed, latex and some fruit including banana and kiwi.

Molecular biologist Giuseppe Palmisano and his team are hoping that their work on the glycoproteins — many of which were identified for the first time — will help lead to the development of a glycoprotein-free wine.

However, we ALL know the feeling

Sulphur is natural and one of the planets most important and abundant elements. Copper Sulphate (mixed with lime to make so-called Bordeaux mixture) is a permitted vineyard fungicide in some organic certifications.

There is no such thing as sulphur (SO2) free wine as yeasts produce nominal amounts during fermentation, and you, as you sit and ponder my writing are also producing SO2 which has got nothing to do with how you may be disliking this drivel and nor would you necessarily have been afflicted by Sodom and Gomorra’s brimstone.

You can add SO2 to wine (roughly up to half of the usual permitted maximum) and – if the grapes are organically grown – you can label your wine organic. That’s for here and the EU – if you added more than would be produced by the yeast (around 10-15mg/lt) in the US or Canada you can only claim wine from organically grown grapes.

There have been attempts to produce wines without any addition of SO2 but they are prone to oxidation and the off-flavours generated by yeast and bacteria and will not mature without spoiling. They need very careful handling and where possible for example UV light treatment.

 However, there is no substitute for SO2 as testified by a reward for anybody finding one remaining unclaimed.  SO2 reacts in the best possible way - at it acts as a preservative and disinfectant – and is easily metabolised by 99% of earthlings.

Less than 1% of wines produced from organically grown grapes are made and labelled as ‘organic wine’ due to concerns that the wine risks rapid bacterial spoilage. (Jancis Robinson).

Jonathan Snashall

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