Researchers Crack the Code for Better-Tasting Canned Wine

Study Reveals How to Ditch the Bad Aroma


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In recent years, the wine industry has been bubbling with more modern and practical ways to enjoy this ancient beverage, including packaging in cans. While still not very common in European countries, canned wine is gaining ground in English-speaking nations.

One of the persistent concerns has been the quality of canned wines, especially their aroma and flavor. An unpleasant smell reminiscent of rotten eggs has been a frequent complaint among consumers and a challenge for producers. However, thanks to an innovative research project conducted by the team at the State University of New York's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, this might be about to change.

For several years, researchers have been exploring methods to enhance the aroma of canned wine, working closely with wineries and can manufacturers. The results of their efforts, recently published in the 'American Journal of Enology and Viticulture', have shed light on promising techniques that could revolutionize this market segment.

The issue primarily stems from sulfur dioxide (SO2), a compound widely used by winemakers for its antimicrobial properties, commonly referred to as "sulfites." While essential for preserving wine, at higher concentrations, this compound can trigger the formation of hydrogen sulfide, the culprit behind the notorious rotten egg aroma. The research showed that the key to a more pleasant aroma lies in reducing the amount of SO2 to levels that, while potentially uncomfortable for some winemakers, are crucial for maintaining freshness without sacrificing aromatic quality.

Additionally, the study suggests that the internal lining of the cans is another fundamental aspect. It was discovered that an ultra-thin plastic coating could be effective in combating this issue. During the study, wine samples were stored in cans with various types of internal linings and underwent accelerated aging tests. The results indicated that thinner linings could be more effective at minimizing aluminum corrosion and, therefore, the production of hydrogen sulfide.

Led by Gavin Sacks, Ph.D., the researchers are now embarking on a new phase of the project, seeking to optimize the type of polymeric lining that works best with canned wine. Preliminary indications suggest that a thinner layer of epoxy might be the ideal solution.

This breakthrough not only has the potential to enhance the sensory experience of the consumer but also to increase the acceptance of canned wine in markets where it has traditionally been less popular. These developments suggest a potential shift in how wine is perceived and consumed in the future. With the right technology and ongoing innovation, canned wine could transition from a niche option to a serious contender in the broad spectrum of wine choices available to global consumers. As time goes on and these new practices are adopted, canned wine may find its place as a respectable and tasty option, perfect for those seeking convenience without compromising on quality.

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