Stabilising colour in wine – naturally

Polyphenols occur naturally in grapes and include, among other, TANNINS and ANTHOCYANINS.  Tannin additions and adjustments to wine is not a new practice to wine countries, including South Africa.  Reasons for tannin addition include colour stabilization, improved mouth feel, reducing oxygenation and improving overall quality of red wines.

San Joaquin Valley Concentrates (SJVC) are the first, however, to manufacture colourants solely from anthocyanins for use in both wine and juice industries.  San Joaquin Valley Concentrates is a wholly owned DBA of the E. & J. Gallo Winery and is located adjacent to their large Fresno facility in California, USA.  SJVC strives for perfection in supplying customers with unique products that provide them with an advantage in their market place. 

Sphere Foods has enjoyed a long-term business relationship with SJVC and as we recognise the value in these revolutionary dry crystalline colourants, we are confident introducing the products to the SA Market.

The level of free SO2 in wine contributes over time to the polymerization of anthocyanins and tannins, resulting in loss of colour / browning.  SJVC do not use SO2 as an extrantant to produce colours.  Furthermore, the colourants are organic, 100% soluble and carry no flavour.

SJVC offers a wide range of colour intensities and shades in both liquid and dry form, however, only the dry crystalline form is available to the SA market for the following reasons: each product carries a shelf life of three (3) years from manufacture, does not require refrigeration or special storage conditions and is eco-friendly due to reduced packaging volume, thus reducing total air-miles and overall carbon-footprint.

With global wine markets under pressure and wine sales becoming more stressed, innovation is critical.  In addition, consumers new to wine are undoubtedly attracted by the colour of wine with some tasting and selecting wine on sight alone.  Browning on red wines is not always understood – the experienced taster may appreciate a wine made in a traditionalist style where brown/orangey edges are common-place. 

Use of dry crystalline colourants is advantageous for wine made for early release, lifestyle red wines that have not been exposed to pre/post maceration, New or 2nd Fill oaking and thus are prone to losing colour sooner than desired.  Addition of colourant offers stability of colour at a low pH, ensures colour density and is resistant to SO2 bleaching.  A major advantage is that the addition of colourant does not interfere with or interupt winemaking processes since additions are done post alcoholic and malo-lactic fermentation (MLF), post blending and prior to bottling.  Dry crystalline colourants are inert, like sugar and do not change over time.

Sceptics may argue that winemaking has no place for additives, but one look at the range of winemaking products  & tools available to modern-day winemakers, confirms just how reliant they are.  Lysosome enzymes, Thermoflash systems etc. are part of winemaking with the same common goal – extracting anthocyanins & tannin (polyphenols).  Adding polyphenols to the finished product should thus be seen as stabilising colour naturally.

For further information and assistance with dry crystalline products contact Catherine Dillon, Sphere Foods at or call directly: 082 8781176.

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