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A Novel ‘Red Wine’ Dragon Fruit-Derived Alcoholic Beverage

Technology Overview

Wine production has been a regional business near vineyard. Nevertheless, it is highly dependent on the geographical and climate of an area, for places where climate is not suitable for the growth of wine grapes, production of grape wine is costly or unavailable. On the other hand, tropical countries with ample production of a variety of fruits have to deal with wastage and economical loss as unsold fruits rotten. Dragon fruit (also known as pitaya or pitahaya) is a widely cultivated in many Southeast Asian countries. It is commonly consumed fresh or used for juice and puree production. The processing of dragon fruit into clear juice is difficult on an industrial scale due to its significant content of mucilaginous polysaccharide substances present in the flesh. The present invention seeks to address these problems by providing a method to produce a dragon fruit-derived alcoholic beverage using non-Saccharomyces yeasts fermentation. The resultant red dragon fruit beverage has lower alcohol concentration, appealing red-purple colour, pleasant fruity taste and aroma with a high concentration of natural antioxidants from the flesh pigment (betalains).

Technology Features & Specifications

This technology is comprised of detailed descriptions of a method to produce an alcoholic beverage from raw red dragon fruits which includes:

Yeast strain selection,

Preparation of starter cultures,

Adjustment of red dragon fruit juice composition,

Control of fermentation conditions,

As well as quality assessment in terms of physical, chemical and oenological properties of product.

Potential Applications

This technology can be adopted by winery, brewery or beverage manufacturers, especially those in tropical regions where dragon fruit is readily available all year round. Red dragon fruit-derived alcoholic beverages such as wine, cocktail, sparkling cider etc, can be marketed based on this technology. The technology can also be adopted to produce alcoholic beverages from white dragon fruit as well as other tropical fruits.

Customer Benefits

For wine makers in tropical regions, making grape wine would not be economically feasible due to high overhead cost arising from the price of raw materials, supply of raw material and material handling etc.  However, dragon fruit is widely cultivated in many tropical and sub-tropical countries and even readily available all year round. Using dragon fruits to make alcoholic beverages offers a cost effective and convenient alternative than using wine grapes.

Grape wine, especially red wine has an astringent taste that may be considered unpleasant for many people. The astringency comes from mostly tannins, a type of polyphenolic compound present in the skin and seed of the fruit. Red dragon fruit, on the other hand, does not contain tannins; it is mild in flavor and the juice is sweet but low in acids. After fermentation, the resultant alcoholic beverage does not have any astringent taste but rather sweet and fruity.

Compared to grape wine, the red dragon fruit derived alcoholic beverage has more vibrant purple- red color due to the pigment betanin that is naturally present in its flesh. In addition, the combination of sweet taste and fruity aroma gives the red dragon fruit derived beverage the versatility to be consumed as dessert wine, cocktail or just a pleasant alternative to red wine.

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