Macrowine 2021
IVES 9 IVES Conference Series 9 Wine archeochemistry: a multiplatform analytical approach to chemically profile shipwreck wines

Wine archeochemistry: a multiplatform analytical approach to chemically profile shipwreck wines

Abstract

AIM: The Cape of Storms (also known as Cape of Good Hope) is renowned for harbouring a multitude of shipwrecks due to the inherent treacherous coastline and blistering storms. One such shipwreck is the English East Indiaman Colebrooke, wrecked in False Bay, South Africa, in 1778. A discovery on the shipwreck was a shipment of wine of unknown origin and style, possibly Madeira as it was known that the English East India Company often purchased wine from there but this was not mentioned in the ship’s log. As the wreck was exploited by treasure hunters, very little contextual information is known. To further expand the sample pool with more examples of old wine, we have included another sample recovered from the wreck of the SS Maori sunk in 1909. Additionally, three samples of (old) wines stored in vinotheque conditions were included: a Château d’Yquem (1918 vintage) and two Château Margaux (1984).

METHODS: A minimal volume of wine (<50 mL) was analysed using untargeted analyses (GC-MS, LC-HRMS and NMR spectroscopy), metals (ICP-MS/OES), and sugars and organic acids (HPLC-DAD-RID). Important volatile aroma compounds were identified by HS-SPME-GCMS and their identification confirmed using Wiley/NIST libraries and RI. A screening exercise was performed by experienced researchers to sensorially evaluate the possible wine-like aromas.

RESULTS: Unexpected chemical characteristics regarding the metal concentrations, sugar and acid composition as well as the aroma profile were found. Compared to current export regulations, the levels of heavy metals were considerably higher, possibly due to the bottle glass composition and leaching over time. The untargeted analyses showed various compounds including fermentation-derived products (esters, alcohols, aldehydes and fatty acids), terpenoids (linalool, fenchone) and “woody” compounds (furfural and guaiacol). Incredibly, some of the samples still presented wine-like features related to aroma both in the chemical and the sensory evaluation. 

CONCLUSIONS

Unlike other work where the source and/or type of beverage recovered from shipwrecks were known, and with a limited volume of sample, we could still obtain results providing interesting “chemical snapshots” of old wines using advanced analytical and spectroscopic techniques. Combining new technology platforms in analytical chemistry can provide valuable insight into the composition of wines recovered from shipwrecks with the help of maritime archaeologists. Including analyses such as X-ray diffraction on the bottles can assist in tracing more information about the sources of heavy metal content and possibly even the origin of the wines.

DOI:

Publication date: September 13, 2021

Issue: Macrowine 2021

Type: Article

Authors

Astrid Buica

South African Grape and Wine Research Institute, Department of Viticulture and Oenology, Stellenbosch University, South Africa,Cody, WILLIAMS, Department of Viticulture and Oenology, Stellenbosch University, South Africa Jaco, BOSHOFF, Iziko Museums of South Africa, Maritime Archaeology Unit, Research and Exhibitions, Cape Town, South Africa Wendy, BLACK, Iziko Museums of South Africa, Archaeology Unit, Research & Exhibitions Department, Cape Town, South Africa Valeria, PANZERI, Department of Viticulture and Oenology, Stellenbosch University, South Africa

Contact the author

Keywords

marine archeology, shipwreck, untargeted analyses, metals, sugars and organic acids, sensory screening

Citation

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.