Influence of withering on valpolicella docgs grapes volatile composition


AIM: The blend of grapes used in the production of the four Valpolicella PDOs red wines, namely Valpolicella, Valpolicella Classico Superiore, Recioto della Valpolicella and Amarone della Valpolicella is quite unique, and includes two main varieties Corvina and Corvinone, and other minor varieties. To a very large extent all these grapes are only grown in the province of Verona. One of the main characteristics of Valpolicella is the use of grapes that are submitted to post-harvest withering. The aim of this study was therefore to evaluate the evolution of the free and glycosidically-bound volatile compounds in Corvina and Corvinone grapes under real production conditions.

METHODS: Corvina and Corvinone grapes from five different vineyards, at harvest and after 90 days of withering, were obtained from local winery during three consecutive vintages. Grape extracts were prepared with 800 grams of hand-crushed destemmed berries to which 141 mL of ethanol, 400 µg of dimethyl dicarbonate and 80 mg of potassium metabisulphite were added. Bottles were closed with screw caps and kept at 22 ± 1 °C for 14 days, during which they were hand stirred two times per day without opening the caps. Free volatile compounds and glycosidic precursors have been analysed by means of SPE- and SPME-GC-MS methods.

RESULTS: Most free and bound volatile increased in concentration with withering, in agreement with the fact that this process involve a significant degree of water loss (typically around 30%). However, for some compounds a decrease was observed with withering, including free cis-3-hexen-1-ol, 3-hydroxy-β-damascone and methyl salicylate. In the case of terpenes, more complex withering varieties interactions were observed. While in Corvinone all free terpenes increased with withering, in Corvina different patterns were observed, since β-citronellol and other terpenes increased while geraniol, linalool and α-terpineol showed similar content after treatment. Likewise, bound terpenes decreased in Corvina with withering, while in Corvinone they increased in two vintages out of three.


Withering is a complex process in which, in addition to the simple water loss, a number of complex biochemical transformations occur inside the grape berry. These can affect volatile compounds of potential sensory relevance for Valpolicella wines in particular terpenes and norisoprenoids. Some variety-related differences in the evolution of certain aroma compounds during withering have been observed, with important consequences for the practical management of post-harvest withering.


Azienda Agricola f.lli Tedeschi is acknowledged for financial support


Publication date: September 15, 2021

Issue: Macrowine 2021

Type: Article


Giovanni Luzzini

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

Contact the author


withered grapes, grape volatile compounds, valpolicella, amarone, recioto


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.