Montserrat Riu-Aumatell and colleagues from University of Barcelona in Spain decided to explore a compound called 5-HMF - which builds up in food as it goes bad and is also found in bubbly - to predict the shelf life of sparkling wines.

They tested levels of this browning compound in several bottles stored over two years at different temperatures. The study found that 5-HMF is a good indicator of freshness and also that refrigerating sparkling wines almost completely prevented browning.

The researchers have come up with a mathematical model that predicts how long products would stay drinkable at varying storage temperatures, said the study appeared in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

The shelf life of various sparkling wines depends on environmental factors such as temperature.

Currently, wineries detect the so-called browning of bubbly by measuring its 'absorbance' - absorption of light at a particular wavelength.

It's a fast and easy technique but not very sensitive.


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