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Reference: The Effect of Pre-Veraison Smoke Exposure of Grapes on Phenolic Compounds and Smoky Flavour in Wine
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Background and Aims. Smoke exposure occurred in the Adelaide Hills region in December 2019 due to a wildfire, when wine grapes were peppercorn-size green berries. Previously, pre-veraison smoke exposure had been identified through model experiments as unlikely to affect grape composition, whereas smoke exposure after veraison can have a major effect on wine flavour. Hence the effects of pre-veraison smoke on grape and wine composition, and smoky sensory properties of wine were investigated. Methods and Results. Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Shiraz were investigated and eight blocks with varied smoke exposure were selected for each cultivar. Berries were sampled initially four weeks after the fire and at harvest, and mature grapes were made into unoaked wines. Established smoke exposure markers, phenolic glycosides, were found in berries at pre-veraison and at harvest from the high smoke exposure sites, with concentrations well above those found in non-smoke exposed fruit. Volatile phenols were also elevated in grapes at harvest. The resulting red wines from some exposure vineyards were high in volatile phenols, glycosides and smoky flavours. However, most of the Chardonnay wines expressed much less smoky flavours, despite similar levels of smoke exposure of grapes. Conclusions. Pre-veraison smoke exposure can result in elevated concentrations of volatile phenols and their glycosidic metabolites in grape berries and wine and cause strong smoky flavour in wine. Significance. The wine sector and land management agencies responsible for controlled burns need to consider the effect of smoke from fires near vineyards even very early in the growing season.

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Publication Details

Published: 2022
Publication: AJGWR
Issue: 2022 Online November 2022
Author: Jiang W W 2022

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