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Volatile compound insights: Flavour attributes of current and future commercial significance to growers and winemakers

Understanding the formation and fate of key volatile compounds is a core capability that requires continuation in our sector, as these compounds provide researchers and producers with quality targets for improvements in vineyard and winemaking practices. Volatiles contribute specific varietal and regional characters and contribute greatly to the overall in-mouth sensory experience. The volatiles of wine can be the mark of its quality for a consumer when drinking or the basis of its rejection and are influenced at every stage of handling or processing. At the core of an innovative sector is the ability to understand and measure key volatiles, while developing practices to influence or control flavours associated with wine quality and style.

This project will address the identify, formation, and chemical changes of flavour compounds that have been prioritised with sector input.

Known flavour pain points for most sections of the industry, such as 'reductive' and 'vegetal' aromas, will be investigated together with insights on under-studied positive characteristics (e.g. caramel, red berry and barrel-fermentation-related flavours) to provide a portfolio that spans compound discovery through to sector-led applications. For example, recent work has shown high concentrations of BnSH in Australian Chardonnay wines, related to 'flint/struck match' aroma. Research will determine how this compound is formed, the potential role of barrel maturation and avenues for its control. Compounds will be investigated during fermentation and following short-term storage where chemical/biochemical transformations and reaction kinetics will be studied with an aim to increase accessibility of desirable characters to a greater proportion of the sector.

This project will provide methods to measure compounds and knowledge of their sensory significance. It will study production options that affect the concentration of the aroma compounds, will provide tools for evaluation of trials conducted by wine companies, and measures to be applied to future viticultural and winemaking research studies.

Project date

17 Jun 2022-30 Jun 2026

Principal investigator

Hixson, Josh

Project funded by

Multiple industries
Fruits Other rural industries Wine

Wine Australia

Wine Australia helps foster and encourage profitable, resilient and sustainable Australian winegrape and wine businesses by investing in research and …
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  • Organisation type

    Research funding body

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