Macrowine 2021
IVES 9 IVES Conference Series 9 From vineyard to bottle. Rationalizing grape compositional drivers of the expression of valpolicella aroma ‘terroir’

From vineyard to bottle. Rationalizing grape compositional drivers of the expression of valpolicella aroma ‘terroir’


AIM: Valpolicella is a renowned Italian wine-producing region (Paronetto, 1981). Wines produced in its different sub-regions are anecdotally believed to be aromatically different, although there is no systematic study addressing the chemical bases of such diversity. Aroma is the product of a biochemical and technological series of steps (Kotseridis, et al., 1999), as well as one of the most important features in the expression of the geographic identity and sensory uniqueness of a wine. The aim of this study was to investigate the volatile chemical composition of wines obtained from grapes harvested in selected vineyards during three consecutive vintages, assess the existence of recurring patterns that could represent unique aroma chemical signatures and to identify key grape compositional features underling such aroma signature.

METHODS: Corvina and Corvinone grapes were harvested from five different vineyards located in two sub-regions within Valpolicella during three consecutive vintages. Winemaking was performed under standardized conditions. Free volatile compounds and glycosidic precursors were analysed with GC-MS analysis co. Sensory characteristics of the wines have been investigated through sorting tasks performed with semi-trained panel.

RESULTS: Application of multivariate data analysis techniques allowed to identify volatile chemical patterns representing the unique aroma chemical signature of the geographical origin of each wine regardless of vintages. The main drivers associated with these chemical signatures were terpenes (linalool, α-terpineol), norisoprenoids (vitispirane, TDN, TPB), and, unexpectedly some fermentation derived esters. Wines’ terpenes content was related with grapes terpenes pool. In particular variations in wine linalool content were strongly associated with the grape content of different linalool forms. Finally, in the case of esters, a strong correlation between grape content of yeast assimilable nitrogen (YAN) and wine ester content was observed, further broadening the boundaries of vineyard factors able to influence wine aroma. Patterns of odor similarities were observed during sensory evaluation, indicating a recurring association between geographical origin and occurrence of aroma compounds such as linear and cyclic terpenes, esters or norisoprenoids. 


This study provides evidence for the existence of volatile chemical signatures that are representative of geographical origin. Identification of grapes compositional characteristics related to the main drivers of wines chemical signature provides clues to support producers in identifying and managing appropriate vineyard and/or winemaking practices, in the quest of producing wines expressing their sense of place and ‘terroir’


Publication date: September 10, 2021

Issue: Macrowine 2021

Type: Article


Giovanni Luzzini

University of Verona,Davide SLAGHENAUFI, University of Verona Maurizio, UGLIANO, University of Verona Jessica, SAMANIEGO-SOLIS, University of Verona Riccardo TEDESCHI, Azienda Agricola F.lli Tedeschi

Contact the author


chemical signature of geographical identity, red wine aroma, valpolicella, terroir, crus


Related articles…

Physiological and growth reaction of Shiraz/101-14 Mgt to row orientation and soil water status

Advanced knowledge on grapevine row orientation is required to improve establishment, management and outcomes of vineyards on terroirs with different environmental conditions (climate, soil, topography) and in view of a future change to more extreme climatic conditions. The purpose of this study was to determine the combined effect of row orientation, plant water status and ripeness level on the physiological and viticultural reaction of Shiraz/101-14 Mgt.

Effects of mechanical leafing and deficit irrigation on Cabernet Sauvignon grown in warm climate of California

San Joaquin Valley accounts for 40% of wine grape acreage and produces 70% of wine grape in California. Fruit quality is one of most important factors which impact the economical sustainability of farming wine grapes in this region. Due to the recent drought and expected labor cost increase, the wine industry is thrilled to understand how to improve fruit quality while maintaining the yield with less water and labor input. The present study aims to study the interactive effects of mechanical leafing and deficit irrigation on yield and berry compositions of Cabernet Sauvignon grown in warm climate of California.

The effects of cane girdling on berry texture properties and the concentration of some aroma compounds in three table grape cultivars

The marketability of the table grapes is highly influenced by the consumer demand; therefore the market value of the table grapes is mainly characterized by its berry size, colour, taste and texture. Girdling could cause accumulation of several components in plants above the ringing of the phloem including clusters and resulting improved maturity. The aim of the experiments was to examine the effect of girdling on berry texture characteristics and aroma concentration.

Application of a fluorescence-based method to evaluate the ripening process and quality of Pinot Blanc grape

The chemical composition of grape berries at harvest is one of the most important factors that should be considered to produce high quality wines. Among the different chemical classes which characterize the grape juice, the polyphenolic compound, such as flavonoids, contribute to the final taste and color of wines. Recently, an innovative non-destructive method, based on chlorophyll fluorescence, was developed to estimate the phenolic maturity of red grape varieties through the evaluation of anthocyanins accumulated in the berry skin. To date, only few data are available about the application of this method on white grape varieties.

Different yield regulation strategies in semi-minimal-pruned hedge (SMPH) and impact on bunch architecture

Yields in the novel viticulture training system Semi-Minimal-Pruned Hedge (SMPH) are generally higher compared to the traditional Vertical Shoot Positioning (VSP). Excessive yields have a negative impact on the vine and wine quality, which can result in substantial losses in yield in subsequent vintages (alternate bearing) or penalties in fruit quality. Therefore yield regulation is essential. The bunch architecture in SMPH differs from VSP. Generally there is a higher amount but smaller bunches with lower single berry weights in SMPH compared to VSP.