Lysozyme and sulfur

Anyone out there use/experiment with Lysozyme prophylactically (in my case, with Pinot Noir), as an adjunct to SO2 to reduce SO2 usage (I’m talking in barrel (post ML obviously) not during fermentations)? From what I’ve read, the only downside to Lysozyme is that it binds to color, but even then it appears that the color loss is measurable but not noticeable (I’m not that color focused anyways). Lysozyme also binds to tannin, but seems that would be minimal given the amounts used…and other than those, it appears that Lysozyme has no impact on the wine (other than killing most LAB).

The color problem with Lysozyme is a hassle. Also, don’t do it too close to bottling as I have had some problems with hazes/sediments (this of course relates more to whites/roses, but can be a red problem, too).

I have not tried it with the intent of lowering SO2 use, but rather when I have a specific targeted bug that is susceptible to Lysozyme. Remember, not everything that SO2 helps control can be affected by Lysozyme, and Lysozyme is not persistent in the manner that free SO2 is. Also, in my experience, once a population becomes too large, Lysozyme is effective in knocking it back slightly but ineffective at eliminating it.

I don’t really mind SO2. I know people like to one-up their friends on how low their frees or totals are on the way to the bottle, but in my experience the wines that require more SO2 are the ones that you messed up with very early on. I can’t say I see much difference in having a wine at 25 free with 60 total or 80 total?

Just playing with this . . . once the population is knocked back, do you think it can then be eliminated by bottling with Velcorin? (Assuming the bug is responsive to both.)

I don’t really mind SO2. I know people like to one-up their friends on how low their frees or totals are on the way to the bottle, but in my experience the wines that require more SO2 are the ones that you messed up with very early on. I can’t say I see much difference in having a wine at 25 free with 60 total or 80 total?

I feel the same.
I suppose if I anticipate that everything I make will be drunk within the first 6 months, I might fool with lower levels. But I hate critters in wine - heaven knows what havoc they’ll cause . . . and when.
Best, Jim

Jim - To your first question, I guess my thought would be “no”.

I’m not sure I would look at Velcorin as a solution to a Lacto or Pedio problem. It will have an effect, I reckon, but not like it has against yeasts. If you had a large population (say 400,000 cells/ml) and the Lysozyme kills 50% of the population, you still have 200,000 cells/ml, and I don’t think Velcorin will effectively eliminate that sort of cell count in a gram-+ bacteria.

It’s possible, though.

My understanding is a molecular so2 level of 0.5 - 0.8 mg/l will kill any LAB present (and most likely any brett as well). So that’s a great option early on. Problem is…that can be a whole lot of so2 depending on what your PH is…and whether you go for the 0.5 side or the 0.8 side. Also, this isn’t a good option within several months of bottling (given the free so2 level you’ll have for a while)…if you wait for lab results to show a problem.

Your comment makes sense to be Nate…about Lysozyme not being effective enough if an unhelpful lacto/pedio/gram+ bacteria shows up in a lab result.

I’m wondering if doing a combination of so2 and lysozyme right after ML completes, as a preventative measure, is a sensible/interesting option (adding the so2 first, then the lysozyme a few days later after the sulfur has equalized probably makes sense). Esp considering Linda’s reports that she’s had Enoferm alpha test positive for pedio (which scares the heck out of me…and makes native ML a little more appealing).

Hadn’t realized that Lysozyme could cause a haze even in reds (figured tannins would take care of that). Thanks for pointing that out.

Low so2 levels? As long as I’m certain that my wines are completely free of growing things…I’d rather have lower levels of so2. But its not like those two things are trade offs.

BTW: cute pic of your kids Nate.

Thanks Eric.

I forget how the 0.8 molecular rule was established, but I believe it came from another field of study and was applied to wine. While I think it wasn’t every last bug, I think it was determined to kill 95 or 98% of a population. Something like that…so, yes, very effective, and yes, it can take ridiculously high amounts of SO2.

I think Lysozyme, to presumably eliminate a small population, followed by SO2 after a week or two, would be a pretty good protocol…at least as good as higher doses of SO2 (pH-dependent, of course). Just FYI, though, I have had L-zyme vs Pedio brawls before and Pedio won (although Pedio seems, while scary-sounding, relatively benign in my experience).

I think my Lysozyme-induced haze in reds was more precipitated tannin than an actual haze like one might get in a white wine. If you were adding L-zyme right after ML and let that settle, it might not be any different than cleaning up your gross lees by racking.

I have a valley floor vineyard where the Syrah always comes in at the 3.8-3.9 range. In the early years we had some issues with LAB, and would have to use pretty high levels of S02 in order to control it. I learned that 120-150 grams per ton of Lysozyme before the cold soak kept the ferments and resulting wine pretty clean, without hammering them with SO2. I have done trials with and without for the last five years in a row and see little color loss. In most cases we end up liking the tannin/structure/ mouthfeel more on the lysozyme treated lots. [shrug.gif] We are working mostly with Syrah, so color has never been a problem. I have found it equally as effective post ML, but as Nate says, not too close to bottling. The earlier the better.


As was mentioned earlier, in a lighter wine like Pinot, protein haze could be a problem, especially if you are not fining.

John, wasn’t there some product you mentioned a year or so ago that was a possible “replacement” for KMS?

Yes, I trialed a new product, Protos, for a swiss company called Geo Life. I seperated one lot of Syrah in 07, that had a particularly high (4.0) ph and only added Protos at the crusher and post ML. The fermentation was done with ind. yeasts, native ML, no racking and no S02 for the life of the wine, so far. We are about to bottle it and it smells and tastes perfectly clean, with relatively low VA levels and great color. Protos is a extract of Chilean cherry tree bark. The company claims that it is an effective inhibitor of microbes, and virilant yeasts as well as a macerative enzyme which acts much like the more widely used enzymes on the market today. They also claim that it is as strong an antioxydating agent as S02. How does it relate to PH levels?- I was told, that the PH of the wine doesn’t affect its performance/effectiveness. [shrug.gif] I am a bit skepticle, but so far so good. The real test will be how it does in the bottle over time. If it doesn’t turn out to be the end all be all, it could be a useful tool in the chest for certain circumstances.

John, we’re experimenting with Protos as well at Harrington Wines on one barrel of '08 Pinot Noir. No SO2 additions at all with that wine either. As you note, the company recommends adding Protos at the crusher, after ML is complete, and again prior to bottling, so similar timing to the additions as with SO2. So far, Bryan Harrington is very happy with it but we’ll see what happens.

Cool Ken,
You guys must know Dieter then. What a nice guy. Can’t wait to try the pinot.

Where are you getting Protos?|
Best, Jim

Jim, I’ll check with Bryan but I believe he got the Protos directly from Switzerland. The company is called GeoLife:" onclick=";return false;
There’s not a lot of info on the website - Dieter in Switzerland is the guy to talk to, and I’m sure Bryan would be happy to talk with you about his experience so far with using Protos.

And John - yes, Bryan and Dieter have had lots of conversations.

Protos sounds interesting…I’d love to give it a try.

I’d love to know more about what it is and how it works tho (sounds like we all would). Lysozyme sounds like a good option for wine cuz it’s a protein and will (should) completely precipitate out the same way other fining agents do (not the Lysozyme is using for fining, but the action is the same, and given the relatively small amounts used, the fining effect should be small). Would love to know more about what exactly Protos is and what (if anything) remains in the wine medium/long term.

Thanks for all the great info!

I’d like to try it just to talk to a guy named Dieter in Switzerland.

Maybe I would need to go pick it up? During ski season?

Thanks Ken.
I’ll be back out to stay in July and I’ll be in touch.
Best, Jim

Me too. [give_heart.gif]

As a follow-up, I just tried this wine alongside the regular version, as well as a pair of '09s from a different vineyard.

Of the '08s, I much preferred the Protos. The wine’s character reminds me of a not too too far away vineyard that I’m much more familiar with - rather heavy, brooding, savory, soy, which takes some time to mellow. The Protos version came across as lighter and brighter with some prominent raspberry and lime, more apparent complexity. The regular needs a couple years, the Protos is great now.

With the '09s, I think it’s just a better site, for starters. Both are complex, expressive wonderful wines, with a lot in common and a lot of differences. Some tasters preferred one, some the other. I thought the Protos was slightly better, in the same sort of way as with the other pair.

Thanks, Wes.
Best, Jim

I’m curious as to what problems you’re trying to solve here.

The down side of sulphur is that the wines can be reductive, can’t be labelled as organic, and there are people who are sensitive (or - more commonly - think they are sensitive to it. But apart from that it works and as far as I’m aware is safe and cheap.

So is that a genuine issue, or is this simply another product in search of an application?