Prickly pear wine could be the next latest thing

Ephraim Kgatla gives a brief explanation about his research into incorporating specific indigenous fruit into the making of wine.

LIMPOPO – Kgatla, who is also a PhD candidate in food science and technology, revealed his research study which suggests possible and simple strategies to consider the wild fruit variety for wine making potential at a recent gathering at Univen.

According to Kgatla some specific indigenous and wild fruit varieties are less susceptible to drought, heat stress, pest infestations and diseases and are therefore more suitable for the predicted climate.

His study focused on the development of a new prickly pear wine product.

“The study has carried the physicochemical analysis of the fruit in order to determine the fermentable sugars, characterised fruit colour, analysed phytochemical components of the fruit and engineering properties of the fruit for wine processing,” Kgatla explained.

He clarified that the study has carried several chemical analyses to characterise the wine quality, sensory profiling, characteristics and non-sensory properties of developed wine.

After the production of the prickly pear wine, Univen staff and students were invited for sensory evaluation and tasting of the wine.

“The purpose of the sensory evaluation and wine tasting today is to determine the relative importance to wine consumers of sensory and non-sensory attributes on liking and choice of wine,” said Kgatla.

He added that methods used are science-based and validated against actual potential markets and on consumer attitudes towards the taste or packaging of wines. Kgatla added the project will then demonstrate to the wine developer that it can potentially anticipate consumer responses to changes in the product and its marketing and by doing so can design products more likely to succeed in the competitive wine market.

One of the guests who tasted the wine, Ntsundeni Sirwali, a first-year masters student in rural development at Univen, said the wine tasted good with a full, invigorating aroma.

thoko@nmgroup.co.za

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