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Pulsed Electric Field Technology (PEF) for Wine Production: Sustainability, Quality and Yield Aspects


Pulsed Electric Field Technology (PEF) for Wine Production: Sustainability, Quality and Yield Aspects

Module organized in collaboration with ELEA


Javier RASO,
Universidad de Zaragoza
Fundamentos de la aplicación del PEF en las bodegas (SPA)
Fundamentals of PEF Application in Wineries


Elea Technology GmbH
Industrial Systems and Case Studies .
Industrial Systems and Case Studies

Pulsed Electric Field (PEF) is an innovative technology that helps to optimize existing processes and save energy and water in various branches of food industry.

For example, it is commonly used in chips, French fries and olive oil production. PEF is based on pure physical principals. PEF treatment can also be used at various points in the complex wine production process. The production process generally includes the following steps: separation of the grape stems and crushing, maceration, pressing, fermentation, preservation and bottling.

During maceration, important quality-determining ingredients such as polyphenols, which are responsible for the red colour, are extracted. This process usually takes about 10-12 days for the production of red wine. After crushing, the grape mash can be subjected to a PEF treatment before maceration. his opens the grape cells and facilitates the exchange of substances. Accordingly, the required polyphenols can be extracted more easily and quickly, reducing the maceration time to 5-6 days. The reduced maceration time is accompanied by an increase in capacity and energy savings.

After pressing, yeast cultures are added to the grape juice for fermentation of usually 180 days. The added cultures break down the sugar and convert it into alcohol. Another important process during fermentation is the autolysis of the yeast cells, which releases important flavour compounds that have a significant influence on the mouthfeel. Mannoproteins released from the cell wall are one of the most important components here. Studies have shown that PEF treatment of the mash leads to an accelerated release of mannoproteins. The maximum concentration of mannoproteins is reached after just 30 days. Accordingly, the fermentation time can be reduced to 30 days while maintaining the highest quality standards.

Conventionally, the addition of sulphur dioxide is often used during fermentation to suppress the growth of undesirable germs, among other things. Treating the wine with PEF makes it possible to kill harmful microorganisms without the addition of additives or temperature treatment.

The PEF process has been officially accepted by the International Organisation of Vine and Wine (OIV) as a cell disrup¬tion process. Specifically, PEF treatment can be used as a digestion process for red and white wine in order to simplify and accelerate the extraction of valuable components.

uring this session all benefits as well as the fundamentals of PEF application for the winery and the available industrial scale PEF systems for this application will be demonstrated. Moreover, the industrial scale case studies will be outlined.