Scott Labs Enzyme Choosing Guide
Last Updated: 7/2021
Applies to: Winemakers looking for assistance in selecting and comparing Scott Labs enzymes. This guide contains a downloadable pdf choosing chart that characterizes our enzymes by winemaking stage and intended impact.Download
What are enzymes used for?
Enzymes have been used in the fruit industry since the 1930s. In the early days, enzymes for grapes were basic pectinases, were poorly understood and used primarily for increasing juice yields. After decades of research, Scott Laboratories started offering specialized enzymes for the wine industry and has done so for the past 30 years. These enzymes can accelerate a variety of natural reactions that would otherwise occur slowly in grapes, juice, must and wine. They can be used to increase yield before fermentation, improve aromas and mouthfeel and make clarification and filtration easier.
At the heart of many enzyme-solvable problems is pectin. Grape skins and grape pulp are rich in pectins which are linked together with other structural molecules such as cellulose and hemicellulose. In addition to this complexing, pectin itself can be highly branched with many side chains, necessitating multiple formulations for different winemaking applications. At almost every stage in the winemaking process proper enzyme use can improve quality and save costs.
Selecting Enzymes for Success
It is important to match the winemaking goal, enzyme blend and correct dosage to achieve maximum success. The amount of enzyme necessary to achieve success will depend on: the method of harvest, varietal, pectin content, skin thickness, contact time, grape chemistry (pH and temperature) and the presence of inactivating agents like SO2, bentonite and tannins. Consider the following when choosing an enzyme and determining its dosage:
Skin contact enzymes can help release bound aroma precursors into the must or juice.
Pressing & Clarification
Enzymes break down grape pulp thereby releasing trapped juice, decreasing solids, increasing yield and resulting in higher quality juice. Press cycles are optimized and lees are more compact.
Color & Phenolics
Enzymes accelerate the release of anthocyanins and tannins resulting in wines with brighter, more stable color and enhanced structure.
Enzymes promote tannin extraction which impacts mouthfeel. Some enzymes, like beta-glucanase will aid with yeast autolysis, releasing mannoproteins which increases mouthfeel and sweetness perception.
Aroma compounds, if not released from their precursor form, can be undetectable. Some enzymes have the ability to release these compounds.
Enological beta-glucosidase/glycosidase enzymes are inhibited by sugar. It is recommended that these enzymes are used once the glucose level is <5%.
Grapes impacted by Botrytis can be filtration nightmares. Enzymes help break down glucans and other polysaccharides that are colloidal in nature and can make the wine very difficult to filter.