Understanding and mitigating the impact of smoke exposure on grape and wine composition and wine sensory properties
A major aim of this project is to determine the relationship between the concentration of smoke-derived compounds (phenols and phenolic glycosides) in smoke-exposed grapes and wine with the intensity of smoke characters in wine assessed through sensory evaluation. The consequences of early-season and later smoke exposure will be assessed, with multiple regions and both white and red grapes targeted with low, medium and high levels of smoke compounds. Wines will be made under standardised conditions and assessed using a screened, qualified smoke sensory panel. The sensory intensity of smoke characters will be related to consumer preference response. The role of specific key phenol compounds in smoke characters will be confirmed through reconstitution sensory studies, targeting low to moderate levels of smoke characters.
The project will also assess whether, following early-season exposure, the smoke phenolic glycoside concentration of unripe grapes and/or of grapevine leaves can be used to determine the extent of the smoke characters that would be expected in wine.
The effectiveness of treatments to remove or eliminate taint will also be assessed, notably activated carbon products, as well as enzyme preparations and specific yeast strains.
The project has attracted $100k co-investment from the South Australian State Government, in support of research towards an improved understanding of the consequences of early smoke exposure on grapes at harvest and wine composition and sensory attributes.