Impact of press fractioning on Pinot noir and Pinot meunier grape juice and wine compositions and colour

The separation of different grape juice press fractions is an important step in the production of sparkling base wines. A complete press cycle for this style of wine is a series of pressure increases (squeezes) resulting in variations in juice composition during the press cycle. After alcoholic fermentation, wines obtained from grape juices also exhibit strong differences for numerous characteristics. Nevertheless, there is no statistical study of the impact of the press cycle on grape juices and wine colour/composition. So, the aim of this study (vintage 2018) was to investigate the changes in composition and colour parameters of Pinot noir and Pinot meunier grapes juices, as well as their corresponding wines, during the pressing cycle. 

The studied parameters were: L*a*b*, A420, pH, total acidity (TA), malic and tartaric acids, sugars, maturity index, YAN, NH4+, a-NH2, Ca++ and K+ for the 23 grape juices, and pH, TA, malic and tartaric acids, alcohol, a-NH2, Ca++ and K+ for the 23 base wines. Results were analysed by Pearson’s correlation test, ANOVA and PCA after normalization of the data. 

For examples, the TA and the tartaric acid content of the musts statistically decreased by 35 % and 41 % respectively between the beginning and the end of the press cycle, whilst the pH increased by 0.4 unit. These changes were observed concomitantly with the increases of a* and b* values by 4 to 6 units and a significant decrease of the luminosity L*. These observations were still true for wines. Many Pearson’s correlation coefficients were higher than 0.85 and even higher than 0.95 for some of them. The different PCAs considering the colour parameters, the acidity parameters or all of the parameters measured showed a strong separation of the samples according to the different squeezes, for grape juices as well as for the wines. This was confirmed with the PCA considering the 23 grape juices, the 23 wines and all of the parameters measured both in juice and wines. 

As a conclusion, this study brings a greater understanding of: 1) Pinot noir and Pinot meunier must composition and colour changes all along the press cycle, 2) differences between wines produced with these grape juice fractions, 3) correlation between grape juice and wine compositions. These results could be a good tool for winemakers to decide how to separate the grape juice fractions during the pressing cycle to produce different styles of wines with different sensory qualities and aging potential.

Author: Richard Marchal

Faculté des Sciences de Reims BP1039 51687 Reims Cedex 02  

Email: richard.marchal@univ-reims.fr

Keywords: Press fractioning, grape juice, sparkling base wine colour, ACP 

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