Naturalia Blog

From MCR to MCRS – An oenological innovation



N°1 – July 2023

The sugars allowed for oenological practices are well defined by current legislation and are currently limited to grape sugars contained in the must in its various forms and to sucrose, from cane or beet, but in this case limited to specific areas and applications. In particular, in Italy, as well as in Greece, Spain, Cyprus, Portugal and some French departments, the addition of sucrose is prohibited, and enrichment is allowed by adding only concentrated grape must or rectified concentrated grape must (Regulation (EU) No. 1308/2013).

Naturalia Ingredients was founded in 2009 with the ambitious goal of providing the wine sector with a sugar that combines the purity, the stability and the practicality of use of pure crystalline sucrose, but entirely derived from grapes: a product of the wine sector, for the wine sector.

Rectified concentrated grape must (MCR) is a concentrated must that has undergone authorized treatments of deacidification and elimination of components other than sugars: it is therefore also called “grape sugar”. The traditional MCR is a liquid product with a Brix of not less than 61.7%, mainly consisting of glucose and fructose in approximately 1:1 ratio. However, it does not represent a solution capable of equaling the common crystalline sugar (sucrose) from the point of view of purity, stability, logistical practicality and use.

The liquid form, in fact, has several limitations:
• the presence of water in the product makes it susceptible to microbial contamination, especially by osmophilic microorganisms, capable of surviving in media with high sugar concentrations;
• with increasing temperatures and lifetime, sugars are subject to degradation, especially fructose which tends to transform into hydroxymethylfurfural, an undesirable metabolite which determines the browning of the product;
• as the temperature decreases, the sugars (in particular glucose having a low cold solubility) tend to solidify, forming a crystalline precipitate which requires a heat treatment to be brought back into solution before use.
The liquid product therefore has a limited shelf life, which generally reaches 6 months at room temperature or a maximum of 12 months if packaged in aseptic conditions. These limits were overcome with the introduction on the international market of the solid rectified concentrated must (MCRS), a 100% made in Italy innovation, unique in the world. With the Implementing Regulation (EU) No. 52/2013 and, subsequently, the Regulation (EU) No. 1308/2013 on the organization of the markets in agricultural products, the European Community recognized the solid form of the MCR as analogous to the liquid, authorizing the MCRS for oenological practices under the same prescriptions and conditions as the liquid MCR. The legislation specifies that it must be a product obtained without the use of solvents and that it must have characteristics of purity, expressed in particular as sulfur dioxide content, better than liquid MCR (10 mg/Kg total sugars in the solid vs. 25 mg/Kg total sugars in the liquid).

MCRS, also available with organic certification, is therefore to all intents and purposes a grape sugar of natural origin, for 100% from grape wines and with all the advantages of a pure crystalline sugar:
• it is safe and stable, not susceptible to chemical degradation or microbiological contamination;
• it is easy to dose, handle and store. It has a long shelf-life: indeed the product has no legal expiration.