Main content area

Methoxypyrazine Accumulation and O-Methyltransferase Gene Expression in Sauvignon blanc Grapes: The Role of Leaf Removal, Light Exposure, and Berry Development

Gregan, Scott M., Jordan, Brian
Journal of agricultural and food chemistry 2016 v.64 no.11 pp. 2200-2208
Vitis vinifera, canopy, environmental factors, gene expression, genes, grapes, leaves, meteorological data, odors, small fruits, temperature, viticulture
Methoxypyrazines are present in the grapes of certain Vitis vinifera varieties including Sauvignon blanc and contribute herbaceous/green aromas to wine. Environmental factors such as light exposure and temperature can influence methoxypyrazine levels, and viticultural interventions such as canopy manipulation have the ability to reduce methoxypyrazine accumulation in grapes. We assessed methoxypyrazine levels and showed that leaf removal significantly reduces accumulation in Sauvignon blanc grapes. The main effect of reducing methoxypyrazines was preveraison, as postveraison treatments had no effect on concentrations at harvest. Methoxypyrazine concentrations in controls peaked preveraison and decreased through harvest. Dilution due to an increase in berry weight was found to be the major driver of decreasing concentrations, as methoxypyrazine levels on a per berry basis were found to increase through development in two of three seasons. In the one year of our study that showed contrasting results, analyses of weather data indicate that warmer than average temperatures appear to be the principal factor affecting the berries’ ability to accumulate and retain methoxypyrazines. We also explored the expression of potential biosynthetic O-methyltransferase genes VvOMT1, VvOMT2, and VvOMT3; no significant differences were observed with respect to effect of leaf removal and light exposure.