Delivered in easy-to-use doses, the 'FroZen' range of wine cultures for whites, such as Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Gris, are set to shave off energy-consuming time during the malolactic fermentation process. "Normally, when bacteria is added to wine, an inhospitable place, it needs considerable time to acclimatise. But with our new frozen bacteria range just a few hours are required for malolactic fermentation to start," Laurent Hubert, marketing director, wine cultures at Chr. Hansen explains to BeverageDaily.com Malolactic fermentation, a process where lactic acid bacteria convert sharp-tasting malic acid into the softer-tasting lactic acid, is used by wine makers to cut the acid in red wines, and some white wines, particularly those aged in oak, by organic rather than chemical means. A wine high in malic acid is naturally more acidic, consequently, the greater the reduction the smoother the wine. But the time required from first inoculating the wine with cultures to malolactic fermentation kicking-off can span into days. The Danish firm claims their new product can cut this time back by "as much as 40 per cent." Against the backdrop of soaring energy costs, with oil recently topping the $145 a barrel mark, time-saving methods that shave energy costs in production processes are likely to be welcomed by the beverage industry. "Using our frozen range, fermentation may take between three to four weeks," says Hubert. This compares to about nine to ten weeks for spontaneous fermentation. Consequent savings through using the product can occur through a range of reasons, adds the marketing director, from reducing the length of time required to monitor the tanks, or using energy in maintaining the appropriate winter temperature (18 C to 20C) for fermentation, to having staff available to monitor the process. There is an inherent risk to malolactic fermentation, which when uncontrolled, can be unpredictable and time-consuming, leading to mushrooming costs for the wine maker. Chr. Hansen claims their new roll-out can help to reduce such risk via a "robustness in production and guaranteed total process control". Regarding price, Hubert says the product offers a "good return on investment", adding that "traditionally, these sort of solutions are in the €2.5 to €4 per hectolitre range." Initially rolled out to markets in the northern hemisphere, the white 'FroZen' range joins the frozen cultures for red wine in the Danish firm's portfolio launched onto the market about two years ago. With a one year shelf life, the frozen cultures are delivered in boxes, with individual bags containing a specific amount of cultures to be poured into the wine tanks that are commonly 100 hectolitres and 250 hectolitres, but that can also span to 5000 hectolitres.