Grapevine & Wine 06/12/2010

How to create low allergenic wines

Headaches, stuffy noses, skin rash and other allergy symptoms afflict more than 500 million people worldwide drink wine

Glycoproteins are believed to be important in several technological, oenological and allergological processes due to their physicochemical properties. The knowledge of the protein glycosylation status in wine will aid in the understanding of these processes.

A multiplexed glycopeptide enrichment strategy in combination with tandem mass spectrometry was performed in order to analyze the glycoproteome of white wine.
A total of 28 glycoproteins and 44 glycosylation sites were identified. The identified glycoproteins were from grape and yeast origin.

Giuseppe Palmisano and colleagues note growing concern about the potential of certain ingredients in red and white to cause allergy-like symptoms that range from stuffed up noses to headaches to difficulty breathing. So-called wine allergies occur in an estimated 8 percent of people worldwide. Only 1 percent of those involve sulfites, sulfur-containing substances that winemakers add to wine to prevent spoilage and also occur naturally. But the wine components that trigger allergies in the remaining 7 percent are unclear.

Their analysis of Italian Chardonnay uncovered 28 glycoproteins, some identified for the first time. The scientists found that many of the grape glycoproteins had structures similar to known allergens, including proteins that trigger allergic reactions to ragweed and latex.
In particular, several glycoproteins derived from grape, like invertase and pathogenesis-related (PR) proteins, and from the yeast, were found after the vinification process.

The discovery opens to door to development of wine-making processes that minimize formation of the culprit glycoproteins and offer consumers low-allergenic wines.


Giuseppe Palmisano, Donato Antonacci, Martin R. Larsen. Glycoproteomic profile in wine: a ‘sweet’ molecular renaissance. Journal of Proteome Research, 2010; : 101005203841006 DOI: 10.1021/pr100298j

di Ernesto Vania