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Decoding Genetic Secrets of Wine Aromas

Posted: Tuesday, 03 September 2013 13:20

Decoding Genetic Secrets of Wine Aromas

Sep 03: Scientists in Uruguay, in collaboration with European partners working on demystifying the chemical processes that create the aromas in wines in order to have better understanding of winemaking, recently sequenced the genome of the signature Tannat grape of Uruguay.

Wines made from the Tannat grapes have been known to make the healthiest red wines due to their high levels of procyanidins considered good for reducing blood pressure, lowering cholesterol and encouraging healthy blood clotting. Sequencing the grape's genome will allow vintners to protect a valuable niche in the wine industry, according to Prof Francisco Carrau, a Uruguayan chemistry professor working with Massimo Delledonne, a scientist of Italy.

Prof. Carrau who says that a wine made with Tannat has twice the tannins of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot or Pinot Noir is probing the secret of nature of potentially great commercial interest as well: how soil conditions, minerals, sun, temperature, climate, altitude and other environmental factors affect the expression of genes in grapes and the chemistry of wine's aromas and color.

"Winemaking has always been an art. Today it is also a science," says Prof. Carrau. "If we can determine through biotechnology the factors that determine a wine's aroma and color, we can potentially apply that information to create more pleasing and valuable products."

"Such information can also valuably guide decisions about where to plant new vines, which typically produce their first fruit after five years and their best fruit in about a decade. Having the ability to predict successful vineyard location holds enormous value."

"Discovering in more detail the health-promoting compound in the Tannat grape requires us to continue work on its genome. I suspect that in future, such information will help the variety become far better known around the world."

Source: Science Daily

Many wine producers are likely to question the deduction that Tannat wines have double the amount of anti-oxidants which is theoretically correct but in practice a winemaker does not concern himself with increasing these chemical compounds but focusses instead on flavours, aromas and ageability of the wine to make them more complex. Views of wine producers would be highly appreciated and published when received-editor

Tags: Tannat, Uruguay, Francisco Carrau, Massimo, Delledonne, genome


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