“Spoilage of wines by Brettanomyces yeast is a growing problem . . . due in part to extended ‘hang time,’ post-fermentation maceration, natural yeast fermentation, barrel aging, and a desire to reduce the use of SO2. Brettanomyces grows in finished wine . . . often producing undesirable odors,” says Dr. Susan Rodriguez (Cal State Fresno) in a Feb 2006 Wine Business Monthly article.
Traditionally, spoilage is first detected when a characteristic “Brett” odor (the strong-smelling 4-ethyl phenol contamination product) is noticed in barreled wine. At this stage, the winemaking remediation is often too expensive to save the wine. In a recent article, Dr. Henick-Kling (Cornell University) observed that, “Traditional plate count revealed a very low incidence of Brett” in wineries, but a Real-Time PCR analysis revealed “the majority of the wine is infected. . . [and Brett] can bloom unexpectedly after periods of relative dormancy.”
A sensitive, easy to use test providing near real-time Brett concentrations is needed to monitor whether spoilage is just beginning, getting worse, or has succumb to winemaking intervention.
The new Z-Brett Test Kit is that simple, inexpensive method. It detects Brett directly in juice or wine in a few hours, giving the winemaker an "early warning" tool in his or her campaign against Brett. “For those who like a little Brett in their winemaking, for stylistic reasons, this method could serve as a monitoring device to keep the levels of Brett in check,” says Dr. Rodriguez.
“Beta-site tests, conducted 5 major northern California wineries over the last 6-months, have demonstrated that Z-Brett equals or surpasses differential microbiology and PCR methods currently available,” says Dr. Stewart LeBrun, director of R&D at Z-Wine Co. Beta testing was conducted in both laboratory and cellar conditions, and “users found the tests procedures both easy to perform and interpret.” Furthermore, the Z-Brett reagents “have passed 6- and 12-month real-time stability testing for enzyme-immunoassay reagents,” added Dr. LeBrun.
About Unitech Scientific LLC and Z-Enology
Unitech Scientific, in its twelfth year manufacturing and marketing wine, beverage, and food testing products, is based in Lakewood, California. The company is employee-owned, offers UniTAB, UniFLEX and EnzyPLUS enzymatic kits, as well as Analyzers, Meters, Titrators, and Microbiology products. Unitech Scientific will make the Z-Brett test and other Wine Spoilage reagents available to its distributors in Australia (Pathtech, Melbourne), New Zealand (Global Sciences, Aukland), Chile (Solan, Santiago), and Italy (Steroglass, Perugia).
Z-Brett, the first of the Z-Enology Line of reagents, was developed by Z-Wine Co. (Anaheim, CA). The patented Zeta-Grip® technology at the heart of the Z-Brett assay has application to other fermentation spoilage organisms. A number of Z-Brett companion products are currently in development.
For more information on Z-Brett and related tests, please visit the Unitech Scientific at www.unitechscientific.com.
Contact: Geoffrey Anderson
P: 562 924-5150
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About Unitech Scientific LLC, founded in Lakewood, California in 1995. Unitech specializes in enzymatic reagents for food and wine testing. We also offer innovative Compact Dry and Brettanomyces microbiology reagents, autoanalyzers, ELISA reagents & equipment, field & laboratory pH meters, and refractometers. We serve the food, research and pharmaceutical markets. Unitech markets several lines of biochemistry tests kits: our 13 UniTab and UniFlex Reagent Kits, the Raisio EnzyPlus line.