Velcorin for Wine Production: Applications & FAQs

Why Velcorin?

VELCORIN® is a powerful microbial control agent produced by LANXESS. Since 1988, VELCORIN technology has been used in the United States in wine, low-alcoholic wine and juice, juice sparklers, sports drinks, and ready-to-drink teas. VELCORIN technology is very effective at low dosages against a broad range of yeast, bacteria and molds. Unlike other chemical preservatives, VELCORIN (DMDC) is non-persistent and does not affect wine taste, aromatics or color.

Applications & Uses

Below are the primary applications and uses for VELCORIN technology in wine production:

  • To help prevent refermentation in finished wines
  • To control spoilage yeast such as Brettanomyces (especially in unfiltered or moderately filtered wines)
  • To decrease the amount of sulfur dioxide used in wines
  • To reduce warehouse holding time in early-to-market wines
  • To prevent refermentation in wines for bulk transport

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. How does VELCORIN work?

A. VELCORIN controls microorganisms by entering the cell and inactivating some of the key enzymes required for cell function. Specifically, DMDC is thought to react with the histidyl residues of proteins, including those involved in the active site of many enzymes. Susceptible enzymes are consequently rendered functionless due to blockage of the active site and/or conformational changes in structure. Excess DMDC then completely hydrolyzes in the presence of water.

Q. What factors determine VELCORIN effectiveness?

A. The effectiveness of VELCORIN technology depends on microbial type, microbial load and other factors. At low doses, VELCORIN (DMDC) is very effective against yeast. At greater doses, DMDC is also effective against bacteria and certain fungi. Pretreatment of wine must reduce the microbial load to less than 500 microorganisms/mL. VELCORIN is not a replacement for good sanitation practices.

Q. How do I know that VELCORIN will work against my specific wine microorganism?

A. While VELCORIN technology is effective against a wide array of microorganisms, the only way to know whether it will be effective in your wine environment is to run a VELCORIN Challenge test.

Q. Do I have to list VELCORIN (DMDC) as an ingredient on the label?

A. No, the FDA lists dimethyldicarbonate (DMDC) as a direct secondary food additive and therefore no labeling is required (21 CFR 101.100).

Q. How much VELCORIN can I use in my wine?

A. The TTB allows up to 200 ppm total of DMDC to be used in wine, dealcoholized wine and low-alcohol wine (27 CFR 24.246).

Q. How do I determine if VELCORIN was dosed correctly?

A. The most common analytical method for determining whether the desired ppm amount of VELCORIN product was added is by methanol analysis. Methanol is a naturally occurring by-product of fermentation and baseline methanol concentrations vary in wine. Therefore, samples for methanol analysis must be taken before and after VELCORIN product dosing to determine whether the desired level of VELCORIN product was achieved.

Q. What type of packaging is compatible with VELCORIN?

A. VELCORIN technology can be used with all known packaging options, including plastics (such as PET, PVC or HDPE), aluminum cans and bottles, glass, bag-in-a-box, stainless steel kegs and others.

Q. How long does VELCORIN remain active?

A. VELCORIN (DMDC) activity is based on its hydrolysis rate. Hydrolysis occurs when DMDC reacts with water to form methanol and carbon dioxide. The rate of this reaction is dependent on the temperature of the wine. At 10°C(50°F) it takes approximately four hours for DMDC to completely break down. At 20°C(68°F) breakdown occurs in about two hours.

Q. Why do I have to use a unique dosing system?

A. Due to the unique physical properties of VELCORIN and to help assure safe handling, LANXESS Corp. requires the use of VELCORIN DT dosing machines. DMDC is hydrophobic and solidifies at 17°C(63°F). The dosing machines are engineered expressly for VELCORIN to prevent solidification and aid in DMDC solubility. Temperature controls, specific safety features and a special metering system, are also incorporated into the design.

Q. How can I use VELCORIN if I don't have a dosing machine?

A. Scott Labs sells the VELCORIN DT Touch dosing machine from LANXESS, which can be purchased via one of our technical sales experts. Mobile VELCORIN service providers also provide on-site dosing. Click here to learn more about the DT Touch or view our list of mobile service providers.

Q. Is VELCORIN-treated wine approved in countries other than the US?

A. VELCORIN approval is product and country specific. Countries that currently allow VELCORIN product treatment for wine include: Argentina, Australia, Chile, European Union member states, New Zealand, South Africa, Canada, and Mexico. Please note that it is the exporter’s responsibility to ensure the trade-ability of products. For a current list of countries that allow VELCORIN-treated wine, contact our team today.

Q. What testing services are available for products using Velcorin?

A. Scott Labs has partnered with ETS Laboratories to offer an expanded list of options for lab testing on products using Velcorin:

  • Velcorin Challenge Test: lab procedure used to determine if the population of microbes present in a product can be inactivated with the appropriate dose of Velcorin.
  • Velcorin Microbiological Validation Test: Bottle sterility testing can test beverage samples that have already been dosed with Velcorin during packaging for effectiveness.
  • Velcorin/Methanol Validation Test: Methanol is byproduct of Velcorin addition, analysis of this methanol can provide information about the success or dosage level of an addition.

For more information on Velcorin for wine production, download our complete brochure.

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