Saturday, 17 February 2024 15:25

BRIght Ideas: Loveblock Innovations

Written by  Staff Reporters
Kim and Erica Crawford. Kim and Erica Crawford.

The Bragato Research Institute Research Winery has helped Marlborough's Loveblock winery refine the use of oenological tannins, specifically tannin extracted from green tea.

"We believe this is the first wine in New Zealand, if not worldwide, to use green tea tannin extract as a unique alternative to sulphites," says Erica Crawford, founder of Loveblock. "We are very excited about the prospects of this new way of winemaking - in our opinion, 'softer' winemaking that excludes harsh additives." The wine's name - Sauvignon Blanc 'TEE' - means 'tea' in Afrikaans, in a nod to both Erica's heritage and the ingredients in the wine.

Ti Premium (Vason Enologica), a green tea tannin, has been on the market for some 14 years, indicated for use with botrytised grapes. In 2019 Erica and her husband, winemaker Kim Crawford, followed the chemistry to trial the product as an alternative to SO2. They contracted Bragato Research Institute (BRI) to run a trial to test a number of exotic tannins for efficacy and sensory characteristics and compared wine made with tannin from green tea, rooibos tea, honeybush tea and fermented honeybush. The trial did not include a control of no protection/addition or the standard PMS SO2, to create.

Loveblock used the research winery again in 2023, to create marketing comparison packs for international buyers on a small scale. They used the winery's 2001 ferment tanks to make batches of Sauvignon Blanc comparing no antioxidant, conventional PMS additions, and Ti Premium (the green tea-based tannin product). This allows buyers to evaluate the sensory impact of all three parameters. Erica says wine drinkers are exploring the natural and organic wine category "more than ever before".

To read more about the Loveblock TEE and the BRI trial, go to bri.co.nz/2023/11/21/loveblock-trial

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