ANTI-TRANSPIRANT MODULATION OF GRAPE RIPENING: EFFECTS ON MERLOT VINE DEVELOPMENT AND ROSÉ WINE PHENOLIC AND AROMATIC PROFILES
Climate changes are impacting viticultural regions throughout the world with temperature increases being most prevalent.1 These changes will not only impact the regions capable of growing grapes, but also the grapes that can be grown.2 As temperatures rise the growing degree days increase and with it the sugar accumulation within the berries and subsequent alcohol levels in wine. Consequently, viticultural practices need to be examined to decrease the levels of sugars. Anti-transpirants have been used to some degree of success, however their benefits may be linked to the varietal and style of wine produced.3 With this in mind we undertook a study of anti-transpirant application to merlot grapes to determine its effectiveness for reducing alcohol in Rosé wines.
The trial was performed in a commercial vineyard in the Hawke’s Bay region of New Zealand. The vines were two cane pruned and the vineyard was managed under conventional practices. The trial was setup as a randomized block design with five vines per block. Anti-transpirant was applied using a backpack sprayer to upper portion of the canopy to the point of run off at véraison. The berries were then harvested by hand at 18 °Brix and wine making using a standardized wine making protocol at the research winery.
The harvest dates were delayed between the treated and untreated vines. The treated wines were found to have a higher pH, lower titratable acidity, and increased total phenolics. The aroma compound analysis resulted in several significant differences that were noted in the sensory evaluation. In both vintages the control wines were found to be influenced by green, vegetal, and earthy notes while the treated wines were found to be influenced by fruit aromas. These sensory attributes were confirmed by examining the aromatic compounds by PCA. This resulted in the controls being influenced by methoxypyrazines and alcohols and a few esters, compared to treated wines which were influenced by esters and terpenoids.
In conclusion, we were able to show that the application of anti-transpirant was able to dissociate the ripening process of Merlot grapes. Its application decreased sugar production but allowed for aromatic compound production. This demonstrates the potential effectiveness for anti-transpirants to control sugar in grape production to mitigate increased temperatures. These results indicate that further research is necessary to optimize the application timing of the anti-transpirant.
Issue: OENO Macrowine 2023
1 Appalchian State University, Department of Chemistry and Fermentation Sciences, Boone, NC, USA
2 Easten Institute of Technology, Department of Viticulture and Wine, Taradale, New Zealand
3 Bragato Research Institute, Blenheim, New Zealand
4 New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology, Department of Viticulture and Wine, Taradale, New Zealand
5 Easten Institute of Technology, Department of Viticulture and Wine, Taradale, New Zealand
6 New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology, Department of Viticulture and Wine, Blenheim, New Zealand
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