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Identification and control of volatile compounds responsible for important sensory attributes


Summary

Objective

Improved knowledge of key volatile chemical compounds responsible for important sensory attributes in wine and the assessment of alternative sensory methods to enable faster characterisation of wines.

Background

For many winemakers and consumers, key aroma compounds define a wine’s fundamental quality; they also provide researchers, grapegrowers and winemakers with targets to improve vineyard management and winemaking practices. Current best practice in wine evaluation uses sensory descriptive analysis, which requires several weeks of data generation and analysis. Alternative, faster methods developed in food science applications require evaluation to determine their utility in wine studies and for use in the wine sector.

Research approach

Shiraz investigations will include determination of the role of methoxypyrazines in wine aroma, development of overripe jammy/raisin flavours and a more general investigation of new or less-understood volatiles that are key to premium wine flavour. The formation and factors that influence aroma compounds recently found to be responsible for ‘stone fruit’ (apricot-peach) character, common in Chardonnay and Viognier, will be investigated. The effect of wine blending to provide enhanced flavour characteristics, acid, colour, and mouth-feel weight will also be determined, and off-flavours and taints will be identified and studied.

Sector benefits

This project will provide new knowledge on the drivers of aroma and flavour in wines.