Main content area

Alternative Methods to SO2 for Microbiological Stabilization of Wine

Lisanti, Maria Tiziana, Blaiotta, Giuseppe, Nioi, Claudia, Moio, Luigi
Comprehensive reviews in food science and food safety 2019 v.18 no.2 pp. 455-479
additives, antimicrobial properties, antioxidants, chemistry, process control, spoilage, sulfur dioxide, wine industry, winemaking, wines
The use of sulfur dioxide (SO₂) as wine additive is able to ensure both antioxidant protection and microbiological stability. In spite of these undeniable advantages, in the last two decades the presence of SO₂ in wine has raised concerns about potential adverse clinical effects in sensitive individuals. The winemaking industry has followed the general trend towards the reduction of SO₂ concentrations in food, by expressing at the same time the need for alternative control methods allowing reduction or even elimination of SO₂. In the light of this, research has been strongly oriented toward the study of alternatives to the use of SO₂ in wine. Most of the studies have focused on methods able to replace the antimicrobial activity of SO₂. This review article gives a comprehensive overview of the current state‐of‐the‐art about the chemical additives and the innovative physical techniques that have been proposed for this purpose. After a focus on the chemistry and properties of SO₂ in wine, as well as on wine spoilage and on the conventional methods used for the microbiological stabilization of wine, recent advances on alternative methods proposed to replace the antimicrobial activity of SO₂ in winemaking are presented and discussed. Even though many of the alternatives to SO₂ showed good efficacy, nowadays no other physical technique or additive can deliver the efficacy and broad spectrum of action as SO₂ (both antioxidant and antimicrobial), therefore the alternative methods should be considered a complement to SO₂ in low‐sulfite winemaking, rather than being seen as its substitutes.