Winemaking collaboration: Welch’s develops neutralized Concord grape juice with proprietary technology
15 Mar 2019 --- Welch’s Global Ingredients Group has collaborated with Cornell University and the New York Wine & Grape Foundation to develop a proprietary technology that neutralizes the aroma and flavor of Welch’s signature Concord grape juice. Keeping pace with demand for high-quality and cost-effective blending wine, the Massachusetts-based grape juice supplier expanded into wine last summer and now the winemaking collaboration is starting to bear fruit.
According to Welch’s, the neutralized juice can be used as a base wine or blender and provides a new option for winemakers wishing to reduce costs without sacrificing quality across a wide variety of wine styles.
Speaking to FoodIngredientsFirst, Zach Longhini, Global Business Development Manager at Welch’s, explains how the new proprietary technology for producing neutralized Concord grape juice helps overcome flavor challenges.
“The details of the process are proprietary, but essentially it works by removing/limiting the foxy notes associated with Concord grape and other native (labrusca) varieties,” he says. “Concord grape has a very unique flavor and aroma that is attractive in certain winery applications where this is desired, but that flavor and aroma is powerful enough that it can overcome wines from other grapes that it is blended with.”
“By removing this flavor and aroma we are able to offer a cost-effective product that fits in a much broader set of winery applications, not just those looking for the fruity, foxy notes for which Concord is famous.”
“Our new technology for producing neutralized Concord grape juice takes our participation in the winemaking industry to a new level.”
Welch’s Global Ingredients Group embarked on a foray into the wine industry with the launch of a Niagara grape juice solution designed for a broad variety of different wine styles in August 2018.
Click to EnlargeWith more than 40+ million gallons of bulk storage, Welch’s, which has facilities in Washington, Michigan, Pennsylvania and New York, is offering Concord and Niagara grape juices to the wine industry throughout the year. The company’s grape juices for wine are all made from grapes grown on family-owned farms across the US.
Longhini explains how the collaboration came about and the expectation: “The NY Wine and Grape Foundation made Welch’s aware of some research at Cornell University that aligned with our goal of developing this process. As a result, Welch’s decided to fund this research with NYWGF and it has been successful in both the lab and pilot plant production,” he says.
“We expect that this product will open up a lot of additional opportunity for applications in wines that aren’t necessarily looking for a strong Concord flavor and aroma, which is really the largest part of the winery industry.”
“Relative to wine grapes in the market the cost of our Concord grapes, combined with our operational efficiencies, means that we can offer a lower-cost alternative to winemakers without them having to sacrifice quality or the wine characteristics that they are seeking to achieve,” he adds.
Sam Filler, Executive Director of the New York Wine & Grape Foundation, adds how the new Concord product will address demand from wineries in New York and beyond for a high-quality and affordable blending wine as well as providing New York State and the National Grape Cooperative grape growers another viable market to sell their grapes.
By Gaynor Selby
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