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The production and consumer perception of sparkling wines of different carbonation levels

McMahon, Kenneth M., Culver, Caleb, Ross, Carolyn F.
Journal of wine research 2017 v.28 no.2 pp. 123-134
bottling, carbon dioxide, carbonation, consumer attitudes, glucose, mouthfeel, physicochemical properties, sensory evaluation, sparkling wines, taste
The objective of this study was to determine the influence of carbonation level on the sensory and chemical properties of traditional sparkling wine and identify the level of carbonation that could be perceived by consumers. Sparkling wine treatments (n = 11) were produced through the addition of different concentrations of dextrose at bottling to create sparkling wines varying in carbonation (CO ₂) level. Final wines ranged in CO ₂ concentration from 0 to 7.5 g CO ₂/L (p ≤ .05). A consumer sensory evaluation panel (n = 48) evaluated the wines using a paired comparison test in which a sparkling wine at CO ₂ concentrations of 1.2, 2.0, 4.0, 5.8, or 7.5 g CO ₂/L was compared to the control sparkling wine (0 g CO ₂/L) for mouthfeel attributes (carbonation and bite) and sour taste. Results showed significant differences (p ≤ .001) between the control and sparkling wines containing 2.0, 4.0, 5.8, and 7.5 CO ₂/L for the mouthfeel attributes of carbonation and bite, suggesting that a minimum CO ₂ concentration of >1.2 g CO ₂/L was required for consumers to detect mouthfeel differences compared to the control. The results of this study provide sparkling winemakers and manufacturers of other carbonated products with information regarding the level of CO ₂ perceived by consumers of sparkling wines.