Offer my friend a glass of red wine from South America and she’ll reluctantly give it a pass. Not that she doesn’t want to try a juicy malbec or value-for-money cabernet sauvignon. It’s just that those wines tend to give her terrible headaches. Same with some inexpensive French reds. We’ve discussed possible reasons for this reaction, including sensitivity to natural or added sulphites, but have never been sure.
Help might be on the way. At some point. Researchers at the University of British Columbia (UBC) have developed a new yeast that eliminates an allergy-causing enzyme called bioamines. About a third of the population are apparently allergic to these little devils. Mostly present in many young wines, bioamines can cause headaches and hangovers disproportionate to the amount of wine consumed.
Is this what gives my friend headaches? I still don’t know! But it seems a good possibility.
In order for consumers to benefit from UBC’s breakthrough, winemakers would need to use this new yeast to ferment their grapes at harvest. The yeast is considered a Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) and is approved for use in the US and Canada, but not yet in Europe, according to The Toronto Star.
- Hypoallergenic yeast can win over world’s winemakers, says UBC prof (theprovince.com)
- http://landfood.ubc.ca/wine/vanvuuren/vanvuuren_malolatic-yeast.html (ubc.ca)