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Defining regional variability and uniqueness of premium Australian Shiraz


Summary

Objective

This project aims to provide new knowledge on the sensory and chemical profiles of Australian Shiraz wines that are responsible for the differences between wines at the sub-region, region and country level.

Background

Despite being instrumental in selling a wine’s story and commanding a price premium; terroir remains an enigmatic concept.

This project supports a larger initiative, the Shiraz Terroir project (CSU 1602) that aims to describe the diversity of Shiraz wines in Australia, to understand what the compounds are in grapes that make those wines different, to understand how the grapevine responds to environmental signals and translates these signals into physiological responses that changes the composition in the berries that can be tasted in the wine.

Research approach

This project will define sensory attributes of wines from multiple regions that contribute to distinctive regional character and will provide objective quality markers for both grapes and wine for future use in vineyard and winery assessment. Selected commercially produced Shiraz wines from a range of regions will be evaluated and the variation in the wines’ sensory properties determined.

Wines will be selected, ideally single vineyard wines, using rapid sensory methods with expert winemaker or similar panels, to both characterise the wines from each region and reduce the number of samples to a manageable number for further detailed sensory analysis.
The sensory attributes of the final wines will be quantified using sensory descriptive analysis. The associations of the sensory attributes with the concentrations of aroma compounds and non-volatile components will be determined. The study will allow the definition of attributes that separate wines from the regions and provide the basis for further investigations into the causes of these differences.

Sector benefits

The results from this project will contribute to a body of new knowledge on the key factors influencing Australia's unique vineyards and how those attributes can be captured, enhanced and preserved.