Comparison of Reverse Osmosis to Chaptalization in Press Fraction Chardonnay (2017)

The purpose of this study is to compare reverse osmosis treatments of juice to reverse osmosis treatments on wine, traditional chaptalization techniques, and no treatments at all. These techniques are commonly used in the wake of heavy rainfall events forcing winemakers to pick early. Chardonnay grapes were harvested and pressed into tank. This press fraction juice was allowed to settle overnight, and then was split into three separate lots: 1) Control, 2) Chaptalized, and 3) Reverse Osmosis Before (ROB) Fermentation. The ROB juice was concentrated 15%. After fermentation and malolactic conversion, the control lot was split into two separate barrels, and one of these received another treatment: 4) Reverse Osmosis After (ROA) Fermentation and malolactic conversion, to concentrate 15%. The juice chaptalization treatment was increased by 0.5 Brix in order to produce a potential alcohol which would mimic the ROA alcohol concentration, as opposed to the ROB alcohol concentration. Wines were bottled for the WRE right after the ROA treatment in early January. All other treatments between lots were equal. Alcohol content was highest in the ROB treatment. The ROB wine also had decreased acidity and increased pH, whereas the Chaptalized wine and the ROA wine had slightly increased acidity. Reverse osmosis may have increased the perception of Alcohol, Fruit Intensity, and other descriptors in wine relative to chaptalized wines. Generally, reverse osmosis wines were preferred to the chaptalized wine, but this may have been due to some oxidation in the chaptalized wine.  This study should be read in comparison with its sister study on free run Chardonnay.

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