Fining treatments involve the addition of a substance or a mixture to wine, and are generally carried out in order to clarify, stabilize or modify the wine’s organoleptic characteristics. Usually these fining agents will bind the target compound(s) to form insoluble aggregates that are subsequently removed from the wine. The main reasons to perform wine fining treatments are to carry out wine clarification, stabilization and to remove phenolic compounds imparting unwanted sensory characteristics on the wine, which is an operation that often relies on the use of animal proteins, such as casein, gelatin, egg and fish proteins. However, due to the allergenic potential of these animal proteins, there is an increasing interest in developing alternative solutions including the use of fining proteins extracted from plants (e.g., proteins from cereals, grape seeds, potatoes, legumes, etc.), and non-proteinaceous plant-based substances (e.g., cell wall polysaccharides and pomace materials). In this article, the state of the art alternative fining agents of plant origins are reviewed for the first time, including considerations of their organoleptic and technological effects on wine, and of the allergenic risks that they can pose for consumers.
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