Environmental factors and seasonality affect the concentration of rotundone in vitis vinifera L. Cv. shiraz wine


Rotundone is a sesquiterpene that gives grapes and wine a desirable 'peppery' aroma. Previous research has reported that growing grapevines in a cool climate is an important factor that drives rotundone accumulation in grape berries and wine. This study used historical data sets to investigate which weather parameters are mostly influencing rotundone concentration in grape berries and wine. For this purpose, wines produced from 15 vintages from the same Shiraz vineyard (The Old Block, Mount Langi Ghiran, Victoria, Australia) were analysed for rotundone concentration and compared to comprehensive weather data and minimal temperature information. Degree hours were obtained by interpolating available temperature information from the vineyard site using a simple piecewise cubic hermite interpolating polynomial method (PCHIP). Results showed that the highest concentrations of rotundone were consistently found in wines from cool and wet seasons. The Principal Component Analysis (PCA) showed that the concentration of rotundone in wine was negatively correlated with daily solar exposure and grape bunch zone temperature, and positively correlated with vineyard water balance. Finally, models were constructed based on the Gompertz function to describe the dynamics of rotundone concentration in berries through the ripening process according to phenological and thermal times. This characterisation is an important step forward to potentially predict the final quality of the resultant wines based on the evolution of specific compounds in berries according to critical environmental and micrometeorological variables. The modelling techniques described in this paper were able to describe the behaviour of rotundone concentration based on seasonal weather conditions and grapevine phenological stages, and could be potentially used to predict the final rotundone concentration early in future growing seasons. This could enable the adoption of precision irrigation and canopy management strategies to effectively mitigate adverse impacts related to climate change and microclimatic variability, such as heat waves, within a vineyard on wine quality.

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