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Shiraz Wines Made from Grape Berries (Vitis vinifera) Delayed in Ripening by Plant Growth Regulator Treatment Have Elevated Rotundone Concentrations and “Pepper” Flavor and Aroma

Davies, Christopher, Nicholson, Emily L., Bottcher, Christine, Burbidge, Crista A., Bastian, Susan E. P., Harvey, Katie E., Huang, An-Cheng, Taylor, Dennis K., Boss, Paul K.
Journal of agricultural and food chemistry 2015 v.63 no.8 pp. 2137-2144
Vitis vinifera, ethephon, flavor, grapes, headspace analysis, mass spectrometry, metabolites, naphthaleneacetic acid, odors, pepper, ripening, sensory evaluation, small fruits, wines
Preveraison treatment of Shiraz berries with either 1-naphthaleneacetic acid (NAA) or Ethrel delayed the onset of ripening and harvest. NAA was more effective than Ethrel, delaying harvest by 23 days, compared to 6 days for Ethrel. Sensory analysis of wines from NAA-treated fruit showed significant differences in 10 attributes, including higher “pepper” flavor and aroma compared to those of the control wines. A nontargeted analysis of headspace volatiles revealed modest differences between wines made from control and NAA- or Ethrel-treated berries. However, the concentration of rotundone, the metabolite responsible for the pepper character, was below the level of detection by solid phase microextraction–gas chromatography–mass spectrometry in control wines, low in Ethrel wines (2 ng/L), and much higher in NAA wines (29 ng/L). Thus, NAA, and to a lesser extent Ethrel, treatment of grapes during the preveraison period can delay ripening and enhance rotundone concentrations in Shiraz fruit, thereby enhancing wine “peppery” attributes.