January 30, 2012 0 Comments
Bin Tian came to New Zealand from his native China in order to study wine science in a country with a worldwide reputation for wine, particularly for Sauvignon Blanc. He is currently conducting research for his PhD on the formation of protein haze in Sauvignon Blanc wine.
Protein haze formation is a problem faced by winemakers worldwide. The haze, which is unattractive to consumers despite being tasteless and harmless, is caused by denaturation of proteins that remain in the wine at bottling. Though bentonite fining allows for the removal of responsible proteins, this method also results in loss of important aroma and flavour compounds, as well as a loss of as much as 20% of the total wine volume. Thus a more comprehensive understanding of protein haze is of great importance to the wine industry, as it could lead to alternative methods for haze prevention. Bin’s PhD research thus has highly practical implications.
Bin is investigating the protein composition of grapes, juice, and wine that has been subjected to a variety of treatments. He will look at the effect of UV radiation in the vineyard, exposure to powdery mildew, harvesting method, skin contact, and press conditions on the protein composition of grapes, juice, and wine. In addition, he will investigate the phenolic composition of these samples, as interactions between proteins and phenolics have been suggested as essential to haze formation.
This project encompasses all stages of the winemaking process, which has provided Bin the chance to participate directly in the vineyard, winery, and laboratory. Upon completion of his PhD, Bin plans to return to China to pursue a career in wine science, bringing the knowledge and experience gained at Lincoln to the growing Chinese wine industry.