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Concept: Terroir


Wine grapes present a unique biogeography model, wherein microbial biodiversity patterns across viticultural zones not only answer questions of dispersal and community maintenance, they are also an inherent component of the quality, consumer acceptance, and economic appreciation of a culturally important food product. On their journey from the vineyard to the wine bottle, grapes are transformed to wine through microbial activity, with indisputable consequences for wine quality parameters. Wine grapes harbor a wide range of microbes originating from the surrounding environment, many of which are recognized for their role in grapevine health and wine quality. However, determinants of regional wine characteristics have not been identified, but are frequently assumed to stem from viticultural or geological factors alone. This study used a high-throughput, short-amplicon sequencing approach to demonstrate that regional, site-specific, and grape-variety factors shape the fungal and bacterial consortia inhabiting wine-grape surfaces. Furthermore, these microbial assemblages are correlated to specific climatic features, suggesting a link between vineyard environmental conditions and microbial inhabitation patterns. Taken together, these factors shape the unique microbial inputs to regional wine fermentations, posing the existence of nonrandom “microbial terroir” as a determining factor in regional variation among wine grapes.

Concepts: Bacteria, Biotechnology, Vitis vinifera, Wine, Grape, Vitis, Viticulture, Terroir


Regionally distinct wine characteristics (terroir) are an important aspect of wine production and consumer appreciation. Microbial activity is an integral part of wine production, and grape and wine microbiota present regionally defined patterns associated with vineyard and climatic conditions, but the degree to which these microbial patterns associate with the chemical composition of wine is unclear. Through a longitudinal survey of over 200 commercial wine fermentations, we demonstrate that both grape microbiota and wine metabolite profiles distinguish viticultural area designations and individual vineyards within Napa and Sonoma Counties, California. Associations among wine microbiota and fermentation characteristics suggest new links between microbiota, fermentation performance, and wine properties. The bacterial and fungal consortia of wine fermentations, composed from vineyard and winery sources, correlate with the chemical composition of the finished wines and predict metabolite abundances in finished wines using machine learning models. The use of postharvest microbiota as an early predictor of wine chemical composition is unprecedented and potentially poses a new paradigm for quality control of agricultural products. These findings add further evidence that microbial activity is associated with wine terroir

Concepts: Yeast, Vitis vinifera, Wine, Fermentation, Viticulture, Winemaking, Terroir, Vineyard


Optimum climate conditions for grapevine growth are limited geographically and may be further challenged by a changing climate. Due to the importance of the winemaking sector in Europe, the assessment of future scenarios for European viticulture is of foremost relevance. A 16-member ensemble of model transient experiments (generated by the ENSEMBLES project) under a greenhouse gas emission scenario and for two future periods (2011-2040 and 2041-2070) is used in assessing climate change projections for six viticultural zoning indices. After model data calibration/validation using an observational gridded daily dataset, changes in their ensemble means and inter-annual variability are discussed, also taking into account the model uncertainties. Over southern Europe, the projected warming combined with severe dryness in the growing season is expected to have detrimental impacts on the grapevine development and wine quality, requiring measures to cope with heat and water stress. Furthermore, the expected warming and the maintenance of moderately wet growing seasons over most of the central European winemaking regions may require a selection of new grapevine varieties, as well as an enhancement of pest/disease control. New winemaking regions may arise over northern Europe and high altitude areas, when considering climatic factors only. An enhanced inter-annual variability is also projected over most of Europe. All these future changes pose new challenges for the European winemaking sector.

Concepts: Climate, Climate change, Vitis vinifera, Eastern Europe, Western Europe, Greenhouse gas, Viticulture, Terroir


The current paper analyses the evaluation of the costs and benefits of French wineries (N=69) participating in the sustainability program Terra Vitis, a widespread environmental certification scheme within the French wine industry.

Concepts: French language, France, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Italian wine, Table wine, Terroir, French wine


Climate change (CC) directly influences agricultural sectors, presenting the need to identify both adaptation and mitigation actions that can make local farming communities and crop production more resilient. In this context, the viticultural sector is one of those most challenged by CC due to the need to combine grape quality, grapevine cultivar adaptation and therefore farmers' future incomes. Thus, understanding how suitability for viticulture is changing under CC is of primary interest in the development of adaptation strategies in traditional wine-growing regions. Considering that climate is an essential part of the terroir system, the expected variability in climate change could have a marked influence on terroir resilience with important effects on local farming communities in viticultural regions. From this perspective, the aim of this paper is to define a new dynamic viticultural zoning procedure that is able to integrate the effects of CC on grape quality responses and evaluate terroir resilience, providing a support tool for stakeholders involved in viticultural planning (winegrowers, winegrower consortiums, policy makers etc.). To achieve these aims, a Hybrid Land Evaluation System, combining qualitative (standard Land Evaluation) and quantitative (simulation model) approaches, was applied within a traditional region devoted to high quality wine production in Southern Italy (Valle Telesina, BN), for a specific grapevine cultivar (Aglianico). The work employed high resolution climate projections that were derived under two different IPCC scenarios, namely RCP 4.5 and RCP 8.5. The results obtained indicate that: (i) only 2% of the suitable area of Valle Telesina expresses the concept of terroir resilience orientated towards Aglianico ultra quality grape production; (ii) within 2010-2040, it is expected that 41% of the area suitable for Aglianico cultivation will need irrigation to achieve quality grape production; (iii) by 2100, climate change benefits for the cultivation of Aglianico will decrease, as well as the suitable areas.

Concepts: Agriculture, Vitis vinifera, Wine, Grape, Viticulture, Terroir, Precision viticulture


Though the gastronomic sector recommends certain wine-cheese associations, there is little sensory evidence on how cheese influences the perception of wine. It was the aim of this study to dynamically characterize 4 wines as they would be perceived when consumed with and without cheese. The tasting protocol was based on multi-intake temporal dominance of sensations (TDS) coupled with hedonic rating. In the 1st session, 31 French wine and cheese consumers evaluated the wines (Pacherenc, Sancerre, Bourgogne, and Madiran) over 3 consecutive sips. In the following sessions, they performed the same task, but eating small portions of cheese (Epoisses, ComtĂ©, Roquefort, Crottin de Chavignol) between sips. All cheeses were tasted with all wines over 4 sessions. TDS data were mainly analyzed in terms of each attribute’s duration of dominance by analysis of variance, multivariate analysis of variance, and canonical variate analysis. Results showed that cheese consumption had an impact (P < 0.1) on dominance duration of attributes and on preference for most wines. For example, in Madiran, all cheeses reduced dominance duration (P < 0.01) of astringency and sourness and increased duration of red fruit aroma. Although the number of consumers was small to make extended general conclusions on wine's preference, significant changes were observed before and after cheese intake.

Concepts: England, Analysis of variance, Pasteurization, Cabernet Sauvignon, Greece, Chardonnay, Italian wine, Terroir


Chemical analyses of ancient organic compounds absorbed into the pottery fabrics of imported Etruscan amphoras (ca. 500-475 B.C.) and into a limestone pressing platform (ca. 425-400 B.C.) at the ancient coastal port site of Lattara in southern France provide the earliest biomolecular archaeological evidence for grape wine and viniculture from this country, which is crucial to the later history of wine in Europe and the rest of the world. The data support the hypothesis that export of wine by ship from Etruria in central Italy to southern Mediterranean France fueled an ever-growing market and interest in wine there, which, in turn, as evidenced by the winepress, led to transplantation of the Eurasian grapevine and the beginning of a Celtic industry in France. Herbal and pine resin additives to the Etruscan wine point to the medicinal role of wine in antiquity, as well as a means of preserving it during marine transport.

Concepts: Spain, Vitis vinifera, Wine, Italy, Grape, Viticulture, Ancient Rome, Terroir


The chemical composition of grape berries is influenced by various environmental conditions often considered to be representative of a “terroir”. If grapes from a given terroir are assumed to reflect this origin in their chemical compositions, the corresponding wine should also reflect it. The aim of this work was therefore to reveal the “terroir” expression within the chemodiversity of grapes and related wines, using ultrahigh-resolution mass spectrometry. Grapes and corresponding wines, from two distinct - though very proximate - terroirs of Burgundy were analyzed over three vintages (2010, 2011 and 2012). Ultrahigh-resolution mass spectrometry and ultra-high performance liquid chromatography were used as untargeted and targeted approaches to discriminate complex chemical fingerprints for vintages, classes (wines, skins or musts), and terroirs. Statistical analyses revealed that even if vintages have the most significant impact on fingerprints, the most significant terroir differences are seen in the grapes of a given vintage.

Concepts: Vitis vinifera, Wine, Grape, Viticulture, Chardonnay, Terroir, Burgundy wine, Vintage


Currently, there is very little information available regarding the microbiome associated with the wine production chain. Here, we used an amplicon sequencing approach based on high-throughput sequencing (HTS) to obtain a comprehensive assessment of the bacterial community associated with the production of three Apulian red wines, from grape to final product. The relationships among grape variety, the microbial community, and fermentation was investigated. Moreover, the winery microbiota was evaluated compared to the autochthonous species in vineyards that persist until the end of the winemaking process. The analysis highlighted the remarkable dynamics within the microbial communities during fermentation. A common microbial core shared among the examined wine varieties was observed, and the unique taxonomic signature of each wine appellation was revealed. New species belonging to the genus Halomonas were also reported. This study demonstrates the potential of this metagenomic approach, supported by optimized protocols, for identifying the biodiversity of the wine supply chain. The developed experimental pipeline offers new prospects for other research fields in which a comprehensive view of microbial community complexity and dynamics is desirable.

Concepts: Yeast, Vitis vinifera, Wine, Oenology, Fermentation, Grape, Winemaking, Terroir


The importance of oxygen in the winemaking process is widely known, as it affects the chemical aspects and therefore the organoleptic characteristics of the final product. Hence, it is evident the usefulness of a continuous and real-time measurements of the levels of oxygen in the various stages of the winemaking process, both for monitoring and for control. The WOW project (Deployment of WSAN technology for monitoring Oxygen in Wine products) has focused on the design and the development of an innovative device for monitoring the oxygen levels in wine. This system is based on the use of an optical fiber to measure the luminescent lifetime variation of a reference metal/porphyrin complex, which decays in presence of oxygen. The developed technology results in a high sensitivity and low cost sensor head that can be employed for measuring the dissolved oxygen levels at several points inside a wine fermentation or aging tank. This system can be complemented with dynamic modeling techniques to provide predictive behavior of the nutrient evolution in space and time given few sampled measuring points, for both process monitoring and control purposes. The experimental validation of the technology has been first performed in a controlled laboratory setup to attain calibration and study sensitivity with respect to different photo-luminescent compounds and alcoholic or non-alcoholic solutions, and then in an actual case study during a measurement campaign at a renown Italian winery.

Concepts: Measurement, Wine, Oenology, Fermentation, Acids in wine, Winemaking, Terroir