Q: Which wines contain the highest protein levels? -- Dennis, United Kingdom
A: Dr. Elizabeth Waters, of the Australian Wine Research Institute, is doing research on proteins and wine. She answers:
"The vast majority of commercial wines would have no protein, or very low levels. My guess would be less than 10 mg/L. Most of the proteins in wines are from grapes, with very small amounts from yeast and bacteria used during the winemaking process. These proteins either become insoluble during fermentation (generally what happens with red wines) or are removed before bottling (as with white wines, because the proteins can subsequently form haze).
"Potentially, there could also be traces of protein in wines that have been fined with proteinaceous fining agents like casein from milk or skim milk powder or ovalbumin from hen eggs. Though judging from Australian, French and German research, it is unlikely that these sorts of proteins are still present in finished wines. The European Union and the U.S., however, are currently considering adding information to wine labels that the wine may contain traces of milk or eggs.
"I'd be tempted to answer the question 'which wines have the most protein?' with 'they all have such low levels of protein, if any, that no wine should be considered as a source of dietary protein'. The protein levels in finished wines are very closely linked to the way the wine was made, and most production methods minimize protein levels in wine."
Have a question about wine and healthy living? E-mail us.
Sips & Tips | Wine & Healthy Living
Video Theater | Collecting & Auctions