|November 2004||National Research Flagship||www.csiro.au|
From vine to palate
Flavour and aroma are difficult properties to measure in food products, particularly in the vast array of wine varieties produced in Australia. Grape berries and subsequent wine products have hundreds of compounds that contribute to their flavour and aroma. The Food Futures Flagship grape and wine research program is investigating these flavour compounds and the use of technologies to measure them. The program’s aim is to understand grape and wine flavour, aroma development and management. The program brings together multiple CSIRO divisions. Led by Plant Industry, this initiative also involves Land and Water, Entomology and Food Science Australia, partnering with the Australian Wine Industry Research Institute, Provisor, universities and Australia’s wine industry.
The flavour mix
Wine flavour and aroma are the result of a complex mixture of compounds that change during the transition from berry to wine. Grape-derived flavour compounds are produced during berry development. The final wine is a result of the grape variety used, environmental conditions during the growing season, management of the vineyard and harvest date. In addition, yeast-derived flavour compounds and yeast metabolism affect the final flavour composition.
What’s the difference?
In the first stage of the project researchers aim to assess the differences between fruit and wines made from vineyards that produce wine with different characteristics. Industry partners have identified vineyards with similar viticultural parameters, but which produce berries with significantly dissimilar commercial grades. With the assistance of CSIRO Land and Water’s Precision Viticulture team, vineyards are sampled to assess vineyard characteristics and variability.
The taste test
CSIRO’s Food Science Australia sensory team will undertake 'blind' sensory analysis on the sampled grapes using trained analytical panels together with an industry panel of Australian winemakers. Biochemical analysis of the berries and the relevant winemaking practices will show the relationship between the composition of the berries and the respective wines produced. The project aims to identify compounds which correlate with the sensory characteristics of the grapes and wine. The initial focus of the research is on Cabernet Sauvignon - the chosen variety for worldwide studies into the grapevine genome and genetics. Pilot studies on Riesling berries are also being carried due to its distinctive aromatic flavour and aroma compounds.
A major aim of the Flagship’s research program is to develop a measure of ‘quality’ based on grape-derived compounds that contribute to wine flavour. Precursors of flavour and aroma compounds found in wine, as well as compounds that alter the yeast and fermentation processes will be analysed. With this measure, it may be possible to indicate the potential of a specific parcel of grapes to produce wine with distinct characteristics.
|IN THIS EDITION:|
The Food Futures Flagship is a CSIRO initiative and part of the National Research Flagships program that aims to deliver scientific solutions to advance Australia's most important national objectives. One of the largest scientific initiatives ever mounted in Australia, it aligns closely with the Federal Government's National Research Priorities. The initiative brings together our national research resources to deliver breakthroughs in fields ranging from healthcare to light metals and the environment.
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