The Impact of Racking and Returning on Wine Quality (2017)

This study examines the impact of racking and returning during aging on red wine quality. Petit Verdot wine was split into two identical barrels. Once malolactic conversion was completed, one barrel was racked into tank, the barrel was pressure washed and ozonated, and then the wine was returned to the barrel and topped. The other barrel had no treatment. All other treatments between wines were identical. No major chemical differences were apparent between treatments. VA was slightly lower in the racked wine. Some sulfide parameters were lower in the racked wine, although whether these differences would impact flavor is hard to say. For the triangle test, of 20 people who answered, 7 people chose the correct wine (35%), suggesting that these wines were not significantly different. In general, of those who correctly identified the wines, 2 had no preference, 2 preferred the control, and 3 preferred the rack and returned wine. For the descriptive analysis, there were no trends for the descriptors used in this study. Judges commented that these wines were very extracted, which may have masked differences between wines. In the future, this study should be repeated on less intense grape varieties. Furthermore, the wine should be allowed to age more in future studies.

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The Impact of Lees Stirring on Red Wine Quality (2017)

This study examines impact of stirring the lees of barrel aging red wines. Cabernet Franc wine was settled overnight in tank after pressing and then racked into two identical neutral barrels. Barrel stirring occurred once malolactic fermentation completed and continued once every two weeks until wine was sampled in late April. No major differences were found in wine chemistry. Some lactic acid bacteria counts were higher, and Brettanomyces and Saccharomyces was higher in the stirred wines as well. No differences were apparent in phenolics, except for an increase in tannin in the stirred wine. For the triangle test, of 21 people who answered, 7 people chose the correct wine (33%), suggesting that the wines were not significantly different. In general, of those who correctly distinguished the wines, 3 had no preference, 2 preferred the stirred wine, and 1 preferred the no stirring wine. For the descriptive analysis, there were no strong trends for the descriptors used in this study. There was a very slight trend for the stirred wine to have lower Astringency. In the future, more studies should be performed with red wine lees stirring, perhaps with differing levels of lees in the wines as well.

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Skin Contact vs Traditional Pressing of Petit Manseng (2016)

This study compares the effects of destemming and cold soaking Petit Manseng Grapes for 6 hours prior to pressing compared to directly pressing whole clusters. Juice produced with skin contact showed higher pH without much change in TA. The wine which underwent skin contact showed much lower TA and much higher pH. Skin contact also increased color intensity, catechin, tannin, caffeic acid, gallic acid, and astilbin. Caftaric acid was decreased by skin contact. This loss in caftaric acid and gain in caffeic acid could be due to equilibrium pressure. Sensory testing found the wines to be significantly different. Direct to Press wines had a slight tendency for higher Tropical Fruit aromatics, and a strong tendency for these wines to have higher Overall Aromatic Intensity. Skin-Contacted wines had strong tendencies towards increased Bitterness, and a slight tendency for higher Astringency. In general, people tended to prefer wines made from direct pressing. Studies of this kind, in conjunction with phenolic fining studies, should be performed in the future.

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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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The Effect of Juice Turbidity on Aroma Development in Chardonnay (2016)

This study compares the effects of fermenting Chardonnay juice at a low turbidity, medium turbidity (110NTU), and high turbidity (225 NTU). Juice from the same pick of Chardonnay was settled and racked into barrels. Turbidity was adjusted by adding back fine lees to the juice. All other treatments between wines were the same. The 110 NTU and 225 NTU wines had no chemical differences. The wines were not found to be statistically different at tastings, and those who were able to correctly distinguish the wines had a slight tendency to prefer the wine made from higher turbidity. This wine had a slight trend to be higher in Overall Aromatic Intensity and lower in Bitterness. More work is needed here to obtain a better understanding of the effect of juice turbidity on wine quality. It may be that the turbidity difference in this study was too small to have a great effect on the wine flavor profile.

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