Technique

Using Enzymes in Country Wines

Beyond basic pectic enzymes to increase juice yield and improve clarity, I have not seen much mention of enzyme use in country fruit wines. To be sure, most of the commercial enzyme preparations available to the home winemaker are isolated and purified for use in grape wine. That does not mean, however, that they will not find excellent applications in wines made from other fruits and herbs. Enzymes are essential actors in biological systems. In biochemical reactions where the outcome is favored by an energy state, but inhibited by other factors, enzymes serve as catalysts to facilitate and speed up the process. Enzyme actions are usually quite specific, with the enzyme acting on a particular bond in one or a few related substrates. Enzymes are named with an –ase ending, with the main root of the name indicating the substrate the enzyme acts upon. Pectinase breaks down pectins, lipase breaks down lipids (fatty acids), and so forth. Some have very specific names because they act on only one organic molecule, while others may be named generally after an entire class