Alginates are the salts of alginic acids, which are extracted from certain brown algae and have long been used in the food and beverage industry. Due to their adsorptive effect, they are mainly used in foods to thicken sauces and to stabilise beer froth. In the production of sparkling wine, the long and very labour-intensive remuage (shaking) of the bottles is increasingly facilitated by new processes using alginates. During bottle fermentation, the adhesion of the yeast depot to the bottle wall is prevented, thus accelerating the remuage (shaking = removal of the yeast depot).
In another process, permeable capsules (French billes) are filled into the bottle. These consist of calcium alginate, a substance produced by exchanging sodium ions for calcium ions. The capsules contain the yeasts fixed (adhering) to the alginate. After fermentation, the capsules slide down into the neck by themselves and are removed (as in the conventional process the yeast residues) with the yeast depot. See also a list under agents used in vinification.