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Introducing our equipment for microbial testing, vinoBRETT by Invisible Sentinel. This technology provides quantifiable results for Brettanomyces in under 4 hours, allowing better quality control over contamination. 

The Lab Pros has partnered with Invisible Sentinel to provide our customers with a better method in testing for Brett. VinoBRETT provides quantifiable results for Brettanomyces bruxellensis in less than 4 hours via PCR analysis. 

Brettanomyces is an alcohol tolerant spoilage yeast that creates sensory issues for wine. Although Brett can be found in white wine, it is mostly a concern for reds. Large concentrations can cause a wine to smell like band-aids or a cow farm, not a desirable trait for high quality wines. Brett can appear at any stage in winemaking: hidden in grapes, barrels, or others areas throughout the cellar. It can be difficult to find the original source of Brett and can be even more difficult to get rid of completely. Prevention through diligent sanitation and continuous quality control is the most cost effective way to keep your winery Brett-free.

There are two methods to analyze for Brettanomyces: a microbial quantification of active Brett colonies, or a chemical analysis of Brett's volatile phenol byproducts 4-ethyl phenol and 4-ethyl guaiacol (4EP/4EG).

Here at The Lab Pros, we prefer the first method of directly analyzing for Brett colonies. Although a high 4EP/4EG number typically means your wine was exposed to Brett at some point, there is no scientifically proven direct correlation between 4EP/4EG and the amount of Brett in your wine; meaning your wine can contain 4EP/4EG without any presently active Brett colonies. Analyzing directly for Brett microbes allows you to determine if you need to take corrective action and/or if you have stopped the growth of Brett.    

To determine the amount of Brett colonies in wine, we use a process called PCR (polymerase chain reaction). The PCR detects and amplifies a specific segment of Brettanomyces' DNA. What sets this method apart from traditional plating is timing and accuracy. Plating can take anywhere from 3-10 days to visibly determine results; whereas, the vinoBRETT is ready in 4 hours. VinoBRETT can also determine viable non-culturable cells that will only grow on selective media; therefore, detecting literally all Brett cells in your wine. 

One of our wineries submitted samples this week of all their 2016 red wines for a microbial quality control check. We are so impressed with the vinoBrett equipment, that we wanted to show you the process. (Permission was given prior to taking pictures of their samples).

Step 1: 
Centrifuge your samples, discard wine, and rehydrate the pellet.

Figure 1: Samples ready to centrifuge. 

Step 2: 
Run samples through PCR (polymerase chain reaction).

Figure 2: Display of PCR. 

Step 3: 
Read results of vinoBRETT cassette

 Figure 3: Cassettes developing after PCR.

 Figure 4: Perfect result: negative for Brett containing fewer than 10 cells/mL

Figure 5: Low concentration of Brett: increasing SO2 levels and/or filtration will prevent the growth of Brett in this Pinot. 

When collecting your wine sample, remember to stir the barrel(s) or tank prior to collection for the most accurate representation. A 50mL sample is required for this specific test.

It's that simple, and with results in under 4 hours, there are no excuses. Contact us at The Lab Pros and test for Brett today! 


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