CreAgri Inc., an innovative California-based nutraceutical company, is introducing the first olive polyphenols-preserved wine at the IFT 2013 meeting of July 13 to16 in Chicago. Another groundbreaking innovation by the leading olive polyphenols/hydroxytyrosol formulator, Polyphemus—a red Cabernet Sauvignon—is the product of a collaboration started nine years ago between CreAgri Inc. and Caliscana S.r.l., a winery located in the Italian region of Tuscany, and will be presented for the first time in the U.S. at the IFT meeting of Chicago.
Polyphemus™ was added with a small concentration of HIDROX®, Creagri's natural, hydroxytyrosol-rich blend of olive polyphenols derived from the juice of organic olives, to replace SO2 a chemical preservative commonly used by wine producers to provide antimicrobial and antioxidant protection to bottled wines.
"It is a shame that an exquisite, and all-natural product like wine should be compromised with the addition of harsh chemical compounds such sulphites to protect it " states Dr. Roberto Crea, CEO and founder of CreAgri Inc., and lead scientist of the all Italian team of researchers that developed the application. "Introducing HIDROX, a proprietary blend of natural olive polyphenols, rich in hydroxytyrosol, we are proposing a totally natural, organic, safe and effective alternative to sulphytes and synthetic preservatives, both to protect the wine from premature aging and spoiling, and at the same time provide health benefits to consumers," adds Crea.
The olive polyphenols are added post fermentation in small quantity (50 to 60 mg/liter) to substitute the SO2, a chemical that often has given problems to consumers for its allergic and irritant activities. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration estimates that up to 1 percent of the U.S. population has an increased sensitivity to sulfites, and other studies suggest that 5 percent of asthmatics may risk adverse reactions upon ingestion of SO2. In addition sulphur dioxide (sulphites) is known to cause airways hyperactivity and allergic sensitization. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration mandates that wines containing more than 10 parts per million of sulfites must list this information on their label. The Australian government limits the amount of sulfites in any kind of foods to 3,000 ppm, while the British government set the maximum to 2,000 ppm.
Polyphenols are natural compounds already present in small concentration in red and white wines and provide a natural protection to prevent bacterial contamination and spoilage from oxidation. The wine industry adds also natural polyphenols present in wood chips, tree bark, and other sources to add flavor to wine and protect it from going bad too quickly. Their natural concentration is often too low, however, and/or after few years they lose their capacity to prevent oxidation and unwanted bacterial spoilage.
Studies conducted at Caliscana and CreAgri with HIDROX suggest the contrary, that the addition of the HIDROX formulation of olive polyphenols not only did not alter the wine antioxidant profile after nine years, but it prevented the conversion of alcohol into acetic acid (vinegar) by bacteria.
"The wine, after nine years from corking, still shows complexity and exceptional antioxidant stability (by Hplc) supporting a significant reduction in oxidation, and thus suggesting a remarkably extended shelf life of the wine when compared to Cabernet Sauvignons traditionally preserved with sulfite,” adds Crea.
The new discovery may have ripple effects not only in the wine industry but in food safety, shelf life and health and wellness in general.
"We are exploring how to replace synthetic antioxidants, like BHA and BHT widely present in almost every processed foods, with a natural blend of active molecules whose safety, stability and beneficial effects on human health is now being established and is well perceived by consumers worldwide. Recently," adds Paolo Pontoniere, CreAgri vice president of communications, "EFSA, the European Food Safety Authority has granted the first health benefit claim for cardiovascular protection to hydroxytyrosol present in olive oil, particularly for its beneficial antioxidant activity on bad cholesterol, and the food industry is now ready to embrace innovations were quality, safety and performance are preserved or even enhanced by the use of natural ingredients such as HIDROX".