Influence of vineyard posts type on the chemical and sensorial composition of Sauvignon blanc and Merlot noir wines

Panzeri, Valeria (2013-03)

Thesis (MScAgric)--Stellenbosch University, 2013.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: In recent years South African wines have been under the spotlight due to references in the international wine media to a distinctive ‘burnt rubber’ character. Many winemakers and wine experts argued that the peculiar character could be ascribed to winemaking errors linked to mismanaged fermentation. An alternative possible source of the taint was identified in the coal tar creosote used as a wood preservative in vineyard trellis systems. South African regulations allow for the use of creosoted utility poles in agricultural land, but in Europe and USA their usage has been highly regulated and even banned for certain applications. Contamination of foodstuff by polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) is one of the major motives for the banning of creosote in Europe and USA. Some of the compounds in the creosote mixture display very strong odour characteristics and for this reason it became the focus of attention for the present study. The overall aim of this study was to determine if vines trellised with creosoted posts could accumulate or absorb the various malodorous compounds deriving from the wood treatment onto the grape berries. These compounds could then be extracted from the grape berries into the wine during alcoholic fermentation, creating quality and sensory problems. Chapter 2 of this thesis gives an overview of the extensive literature that deals with methods of analysis of PAHs and malodorous phenols using both Gas Chromatography (GC), as well as High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC). New methods for sample preparation, as well as analysis of PAHs using HPLC-Diode Array Detector (DAD), were developed and the results reported in Chapter 3. It was demonstrated that Sauvignon blanc experimental wines contained only chrysene at very low levels. The concentrations of chrysene found in the experimental wines are within the prescribed parameters as established by The Commission of the European Communities. Since no other PAH compounds were found in the samples analysed, it was concluded that the experimental wines were safe for human consumption and complied with EU regulations. The effect of vineyard posts on the sensorial characteristics of wine is discussed in Chapter 4. Creosoted poles were found to be responsible for an off-flavour described as ‘burnt rubber’ and ‘tarry’ in Merlot wines produced from grapes grown in close proximity to the posts. Following some of the reported findings, new guidelines have been introduced in the Integrated Production of Wine certification, which advise against the use of creosoted poles for vineyard trellising. This preliminary but important guideline will bring the South African wine industry a step closer to the fulfilling the obligations for food safety as required by the legislation of our major export partners. Future investigations are recommended to completely understand and evaluate the cumulative effect of creosoted posts in a fully trellised vineyard.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Oor die afgelope paar jaar is Suid-Afrikaanse wyne onder die soeklig geplaas as gevolg van verwysings in die internasionale wynmedia na ‘n duidelike ‘gebrande rubber’-karakter. Baie wynmakers en wyndeskundiges het aangedui dat hierdie besonderse karakter toegeskryf kan word aan wynbereidingsfoute wat verband hou met gisting wat wanbestuur is. ‘n Alternatiewe moontlike oorsprong van die smaak is geïdentifiseer in die koolteer wat as ‘n houtpreserveermiddel in wingerdopleistelsels gebruik word. Suid-Afrikaanse regulasies maak voorsiening vir die gebruik van kreosoteerde nutspale in landbougrond, hoewel hulle gebruik in Europa en die VSA hoogs gereguleerd en in sommige gevalle selfs verbied is. Die besmetting van kossoorte deur polisikliese aromatiese koolwaterstowwe (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs)) is een van die vernaamste redes vir die verbanning van kreosoot in Europa en die VSA. Sommige van die verbindings in die kreosootmengsel het baie sterk geurkenmerke en daarom is dit die fokus van die huidige studie. Die oorhoofse doelwit van hierdie studie was om te bepaal of wingerde wat op kreosoteerde pale opgelei is, die verskillende onwelriekende verbindings afkomstig van die houtbehandeling in die druiwekorrels kan akkumuleer of absorbeer. Hierdie verbindings sou dan tydens alkoholiese gisting uit die druiwekorrels in die wyn geëkstraheer kon word, wat aanleiding sou gee tot kwaliteits- en sensoriese probleme. Hoofstuk 2 van hierdie tesis verskaf ‘n oorsig van die breedvoerige literatuur wat handel oor metodes om PAH’s en onwelriekende fenole met behulp van beide gaschromatografie (GC) en hoëdrukvloeistofchromatografie (HPLC) te analiseer. Nuwe metodes is ontwikkel om monsters voor te berei en om PAH’s met behulp van ‘n HPLC-diode array detector (DAD) te analiseer. Die resultate word in Hoofstuk 3 gerapporteer. Daar is aangetoon dat die eksperimentele Sauvignon blanc-wyne chriseen teen baie lae vlakke bevat het. Die konsentrasies van chriseen wat in die eksperimentele wyne gevind is, is binne die voorgeskrewe parameters van die Kommissie van die Europese Gemeenskap. Aangesien daar nie ander PAHverbindings in die geanaliseerde monsters gevind kon word nie, is daar tot die gevolgtrekking gekom dat die eksperimentele wyne veilig is vir menslike verbruik en aan die EG-regulasies voldoen. Die effek van wingerdpale op die sensoriese kenmerke van wyn word in Hoofstuk 4 bespreek. Kreosoteerde pale is gevind wat verantwoordelik is vir ‘n wangeur in Merlot-wyne afkomstig van druiwe wat naby die pale gegroei het en wat as ‘gebrande rubber’ en ‘teeragtig’ beskryf is. Op grond van sommige van die gerapporteerde bevindings, is nuwe riglyne ingesluit in die sertifisering vir die Geïntegreerde Produksie van Wyn, wat aanbeveel dat kreosoteerde pale nie vir wingerdoplei gebruik word nie. Hierdie voorlopige, maar belangrike riglyn sal die Suid-Afrikaanse wynbedryf al beter in staat stel om te voldoen aan die voedselveiligheid regulasies wat vereis word deur die wetgewing van ons belangrikste uitvoervennote. Toekomstige ondersoeke moet aangewend word om die kumulatiewe effek van kreosoteerde pale in volledig opgeleide wingerde ten volle te verstaan en te evalueer.

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