That said, wine’s primary potential hazards are chemical and physical.
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Glass is the key potential physical hazard and control of this hazard may be listed as a CCP in a winery HACCP plan or controlled by their prerequisite programs. “It’s absolutely essential that every winery have a glass control policy complete with a handling and breakage management program,” Dr. Worobo emphasizes.
Wine’s noteworthy chemical hazard is sulfur dioxide (SO2), and it might be advisable to include labeling for this hazard as a CCP, Dr. Worobo says.
First used in winemaking in 1487 as a preservative, SO2 currently serves an antimicrobial agent to inhibit yeast and bacteria, and also as an antioxidant to safeguard wine’s fruit integrity and protect it against browning.
“Virtually all commercial wines have sulfites and a wine HACCP program should definitely have a sulfite management program,” Dr. Worobo advises. “To safeguard consumers who may be allergic to sulfites, 350 ppm is the maximum total allowed in the US 27 CFR 4.22(b)(1) for finished product, and wineries need a way to make sure they do not exceed that level.”
Normally, allergens in wine are controlled under a sanitation standard operating procedure (SSOP). Mycotoxins, particularly ochratoxin A, can be an issue in winemaking, depending on climatic conditions. “Thus, wineries may want to identify mycotoxins as a chemical hazard,” Dr. Worobo says. “If the risk for this hazard is great, a CCP to sort the grapes to remove any moldy grapes is advisable.”
Dr. Worobo mentions that another chemical hazard a winery might want to address is lysozyme, an enzyme that is extracted from the egg white of hens, which is an allergen and sometimes used as a clarifying agent. Lysozyme can be used in winemaking to prevent microbial spoilage by gram positive bacteria, delay malolactic fermentation (MLF) (the process in winemaking in which tart-tasting malic acid, naturally present in ‘grape must’ (i.e. young wine), is converted to softer-tasting lactic acid), or delay SO2 additions after MLF is complete. “It’s important that any wine containing lysozome be labeled as such,” Dr. Worobo says.
In general, HACCP plans are about the same for any type of alcoholic wines, but winemakers must evaluate the hazards for every type of wine they are making. “If you are using a fruit other than grapes, you may have other unique hazards,” Dr. Worobo explains. “Two examples are cherries and peaches whose pits contain cyanide. The pits will be filtered out during the winemaking process, but the cyanide will leach into the wine with the macerated fruit, which is then extracted as juice.”
The most important thing is for a winery to identify the most severe and likely hazards, and if a winemaker is calling a hazard a CCP, they must control and monitor it, Dr. Worobo emphasizes. “Don’t dilute the HACCP plan with too many CCPs, because then you will miss the most important points and end up with hazards in the finished product,” he advises. “If hazards can be prevented by strong prerequisite programs, it’s best to do that, rather than controlling them with CCPs.”
What about non-alcoholic wine?
“Non-alcoholic wine does have biological pathogens, so a HACCP plan to cover alcoholic wine may not sufficiently cover all of the issues of dealcoholized wines,” Dr. Worobo says. “Any winery making both alcoholic and non-alcoholic wines needs to have two separate HACCP plans. When making non-alcoholic wine, it is important to have processes in place to make sure pathogens don’t get into the product once the alcohol is removed. That involves documented good manufacturing practices, site-specific SSOPs for equipment and facilities, and employee training.”
Wine safety hinges on raw materials safety, packaged wine safety, and wine safety documentation, according to Glenn O’Dell, director of quality improvement for Constellation Brands, U.S., Inc., which operates 14 wineries in the U.S., plus others in Canada, Italy and New Zealand.