Home » Journal Entries » Application of Heated Water to Reduce Populations of Brettanomyces bruxellensis Present in Oak Barrel Staves

Application of Heated Water to Reduce Populations of Brettanomyces bruxellensis Present in Oak Barrel Staves

C.G. Edwards, Z.M. Cartwright

New 16 L and three-year-old commercial 225 L barrels representing French and American oaks of different toasting levels, contaminated with Brettanomyces bruxellensis, were obtained. Center sections of individual staves were sawn into 3 x 3 cm cubes and submerged 2 mm into heated water at 50°C, 60°C, 70°C, or 80°C. Following heat treatment, cross sections and/or shavings were collected and transferred into a yeast recovery medium for incubation for ≥60 days. Culturable cells were not recovered from cubes heated in water at 70°C for 20 minutes, or 80°C for 15 minutes, when the yeast was present in oak at depths of ≤4 mm. However, longer heating times (70°C for 30 min or 80°C for 20 min) were required if B. bruxellensis was present at depths of 5 to 9 mm within cubes made from staves. Based on these results, heating water to at least 70°C for a minimum of 30 minutes is recommended to reduce risk of wine spoilage by barrels contaminated with B. bruxellensis.

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