Discriminating the Effects of Vineyard Management Practices on Grape and Wine Volatiles from Cabernet Franc and Merlot Grape Varieties Using Electronic Nose Systems

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Virginia Tech


Vineyard management practices are known to affect fruit composition and resultant wines, in part, by altering fruit volatiles. Methods currently used to evaluate the impact of vineyard practices on grape/wine composition include measuring physico-chemistry indices and performing wine sensory analyses. These activities are both time-consuming and destructive. Two electronic nose (ENose) systems: a hand-held conducting polymer-based and a portable surface acoustic wave-based systems were investigated as grape monitoring tools. Vineyard treatments included the effect of canopy side (East vs. West and North vs. South), cluster thinning (unthinned, 1 cluster/shoot, and 1 & 2 cluster/shoot) and ethanol spray (5% v/v) on Cabernet franc, Merlot and both varieties respectively. ENose data were obtained in the field (over two growing seasons for canopy side and in 2008 for cluster thinning and ethanol spray) and laboratory (2007 for canopy side), across different sampling dates and compared with nine-grape/eight-wine chemistry assays, GC/MS (cluster thinning) and wine aroma sensory evaluations (triangular difference testing). ENose results demonstrated 100% significant differences between all Cabernet franc and Merlot treatments. Grape/wine chemistry indices, for both Cabernet franc and Merlot, did not differ among treatments (except ethanol treatment) across sampling dates or growing seasons and vineyard management practices. Wine aroma sensory evaluations demonstrated only limited differences (3 out of 8 comparisons: East vs. West, 1 cluster/shoot vs. 1 & 2 clusters/shoot and 1 cluster/shoot and 1 & 2 clusters/shoot). The high level of discrimination by ENose systems may provide opportunities to enhance the understanding of vineyard management activities.



grape, electronic nose, volatiles, Merlot, Cabernet franc, wine