Chemical boundaries of wine identity: rationalizing grape and wine aroma diversity for improved terroir management

Aims: Wine perceived quality lies on a number of different factors. Among these, sensory features, which are in turn dependent on chemical composition, play a primary role. There is traditionally a great emphasis on producing wines that have specific sensory profiles, particularly aroma, that reflect identity features connected to the place and the variety of origin. In the case of high quality wines there is also an expectation for enhances longevity. In this paper, we examine the main chemical drivers of wine geographical identity, its relationship with longevity and the (bio)chemical processes leading to their occurrence in wine. 

Methods and Results: results from different studies are covered, highlighting the importance of understanding the aroma chemical fingerprint of individual wine types in order to manage regional identity/terroir/cru expression accordingly. The contribution of different volatiles to the expression of typical aroma attributes is defined. 

Conclusions: based on existing knowledge, the possibility to rationalize viticultural and winemaking practices to enhance the expression of aroma-relevant terroir features is limited to a restricted number of grape varieties. For most of the wines produced globally this process is still based on anectodal observations.

Significance and Impact of the Study: aroma chemical components to specific aroma attributes reflecting geographical identity and terroir are identified, in particular for different Italian wines. 

Authors: Maurizio Ugliano*, Davide Slaghenaufi, Giovanni Luzzini, Jessica Samaniego Solis

Department of Biotechnology, University of Verona, via della Pieve, 70, 37029 San Pietro in Cariano (VR), Italy


Keywords: Wine aroma, geographical identity, terroir, terpenes, norisoprenoids, volatile sulfur compounds

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