The Effect of Different Cap Management Techniques on Merlot Wine (2016)

This study examines the effect of different cap management techniques on the chemical and sensory qualities of Merlot wine. Merlot grapes were harvested on the same day and split into 3 separate 1-ton T bins with three different treatments: 2 punchdowns per day, 4 punchdowns per day, and 2 pumpovers per day. The timing between 2 punchdowns and pumpovers were approximately 5-8 hours apart, and the timing between 4 punchdowns was approximately 1-2 hours apart. Increasing punchdowns and pumpovers increased the pH (5% and 22% lower proton concentration, respectively) and pumpovers slightly decreased TA. The treatments also increased the volatile acidity and increased the sulfur dioxide binding capacity of the wine. Increasing the number of punchdowns had the greatest impact on color, catechin, and tannin accumulation, although pumpovers slightly increased this as well. Anthocyanins were decreased by the treatments, especially with the 4 punchdown treatment. Overall, these wines were not perceived to be very different from each other. The 2 Punchdown wine seemed to be slightly more preferred than the rest of the treatments, but this was a weak preference. Descriptive analysis from both tastings suggest that the 2 Punchdown wine may have been slightly lower in Astringency, Bitterness, Body, and Herbaceous/Green character. However, if so then this was a very weak trend.

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