Winetech vine and wine innovation watch: KPA for the tartrate stabilisation of wines

by | Jun 1, 2020 | Practical in the cellar, Winetech Technical

PHOTO: Shutterstock.

What is KPA?

Potassium polyaspartate (KPA) is an approved wine additive (OIV-OENO 543-2017). It is commercially produced from aspartic acid, an amino acid that naturally occurs in grape juice and wine.

 

What is KPA used for?

It is added to protein stable, finished wines to tartrate stabilise the wines. It replaces the use of traditional cold stabilisation, electrodialysis, CMC, mannoproteins and metatartaric acid (MTA).

 

How does KPA work?

KPA works in a similar fashion to mannoproteins, CMC and MTA. It acts as a protective colloid, preventing tartaric acid crystal formation.

 

Which type of wine can it be used for?

White, rosé, red and sparkling wine base wines.

 

Does it not influence colour like CMC does?

No, it has no influence on stable red wine colour. It is an advantage over CMC.

 

Can it have an effect on a wine’s filterability?

No, it is completely soluble in wine immediately after addition.

 

How effective is it?

Scientific studies and commercial usage have shown great stability over a wine’s lifetime. Especially in comparison with MTA that has a very short stability range of three to six months, depending on storage conditions. Only one study indicated CMC to be more effective at prolonged high temperatures (45 days at 50°C) than KPA.

 

What if the wine is very young and very unstable?

KPA is shown to be more effective in terms of tartrate stability in such wines when compared to CMC and especially when compared to mannoproteins.

 

What are the other advantages of KPA to the existing methods?

  • KPA saves you time compared to cold stabilisation.
  • KPA saves you money compared to cold stabilisation (think energy use – your financial manager will like this).
  • The use of KPA is less stressful than the use of cold stabilisation (think Eskom and load shedding).
  • KPA can be used on red – this is huge!
  • For the greenies – KPA is completely biodegradable, as well as energy efficient.
  • It uses no water compared to electrodialysis, which uses a lot of water.
  • It does not alter the composition of the wine, nor does it influence wine sensory in a negative way. Traditional cold stabilisation can lower the acidity of wines, which is generally not desired in warm viticultural climates. On the other hand, electrodialysis can lower the pH of your wine, which is desired sometimes. However, one study has shown electrodialysis to affect wine sensory negatively when compared to KPA and CMC.

 

This sounds fantastic! Is it legal for use in South Africa?

Yes, since 2019 it is.

 

Can I export wines stabilised with KPA?

KPA is legal for use in Europe, USA, Australia, New Zealand and Argentina and wines containing KPA can therefore be exported to these countries. For all other countries, please check the export regulations first before using KPA.

 

Is there any science to back you up?

For the OIV to have approved KPA to be allowed in wine, they consulted very solid science in the form of a massive worldwide EU-funded research programme, called StabiWine, which cost €1 063 000. Subsequently, there have also been a few publications evaluating the efficiency of KPA.

 

Important disclaimer

Winetech did not develop this product and therefore cannot guarantee any results claimed by any of the manufacturers in the use of this product. Winetech cannot be held liable for the use of this product in any regard.

 

Where can I get more information?

  1. Use of biopolymers for sustainable stabilization of quality wines. https://cordis.europa.eu/project/id/314903/reporting
  2. The effect of high temperatures on the stability of Potassium Polyaspartate (KPA). http://winetechscan.blogspot.com/2019/07/the-effect-of-high-temperatures-on.html
  3. The use of polyaspartates for white and red wine tartrate stability. http://winetechscan.blogspot.com/2020/02/the-use-of-polyaspartates-for-white-and.html
  4. Replacement of wine cold stabilization in the wineries: The use of carboxymethyl cellulose, potassium polyaspartate and ion exchange resins.(This article is in Spanish, but Google does a fabulous job in translating it.) https://www.bio-conferences.org/articles/bioconf/abs/2019/01/bioconf-oiv2018_02018/bioconf-oiv2018_02018.html
  5. Efficient tartaric stabilisation of white wine with potassium polyaspartate. https://www.bio-conferences.org/articles/bioconf/abs/2019/04/bioconf-oiv2019_02036/bioconf-oiv2019_02036.html
  6. Potassium polyaspartate (KPA). https://sauvignonblanc.com/potassium-polyaspartate-kpa/

 

– For more information, contact Karien O’Kennedy at karien@winetech.co.za.

 

Karien O'Kennedy

Karien O'Kennedy

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