Wine Literature Review Lightning Round: 6th Edition

It’s very difficult, if not impossible, for one single person to thoroughly review every single piece of peer reviewed literature related to wine that is published every day. This Wine Literature Review Lightning Round series presents three new papers (within the past year or two) in one post by briefly summarizing the research and linking to the abstract in order for you to pursue further if you’re interested. If there is enough reader interest, I can review any of the papers introduced to you in this post in a more critical assessment.

ECONOMICS:

“Financial analysis of wine grape production using regulated deficit irrigation and partial-root zone drying strategies”. This paper, published in 2012 in the journal Irrigation Science, aimed to determine the profitability of growing grapes for wine under different irrigation techniques: 1) regulated deficit irrigation (RDI); 2) partial root-zone drying (PRD); and 3) a fully irrigated control. The experiments were performed in south east Spain, which is an area with relatively scarce water resources. 5 different irrigation treatments were performed: 1) control irrigated at 60% of crop evapotranspiration (ETc); 2) PRD irrigation at 30% ETc between fruit set and harvest plus 45% ETc after harvest; 3) RDI irrigation at 30% ETc between fruit set and harvest plus 45% ETc after harvest; 4) PRD irrigation at 15% ETc between fruit set and harvest plus 45% ETc after harvest; and 5) RDI irrigation at 15% ETc between fruit set and harvest plus 45% ETc after harvest.

Using various economic modeling, the results showed that only the first three treatments (Control, PRD 30/45, and RDI

Photo By Craig Camp (originally posted to Flickr as Dawn Irrigation) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Photo By Craig Camp (originally posted to Flickr as Dawn Irrigation) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

30/45) were economically viable, whereas the other two treatments (PRD 15/45 and RDI 15/45) were not economically viable. The most profitable treatment was found to be the control treatment (full irrigation; 60% ETc), which had an overall profitability of 25.37% compared with 1.95% profitability for the RDI 30/45 treatment and 0.57% profitability for the PRD 30/45 treatment.

It should be noted that the more strict irrigation treatments (PRD 15/45 and RDI 15/45) produced much higher quality grapes, since aromas and flavors were able to become more concentrated in the grapes. Taking this into consideration, the results showed that returns on bottles of wine from these more stressed grapes were high and quite similar to the control, thereby resulting in an economically viable irrigation treatment. In other words, the grape and wine quality benefit received by the more strict irrigation treatment basically “cancelled out” the economic inviability issue previously found and renders the treatment profitable. Finally, if kept under the same conditions, the results showed that the regulated deficit irrigation treatment was more economically viable than the partial root-zone irrigation treatment.

Overall, while at first it doesn’t seem that deficit irrigation strategies are economically viable for vineyards and wineries, the high quality of grapes and subsequent finished wines result in greater sales of the product, thus inverting the initial figures and allowing the business to be profitable.

Source: GarcĂ­a, J.G., MartĂ­nez-Cutillas, A., and Romero, P. 2012. Financial analysis of wine grape production using regulated deficit irrigation and partial-root zone drying strategies. Irrigation Science 30: 179-188.

VITICULTURE/ENOLOGY:

“Assessment of grey mould (Botrytis cinerea) impact on phenolic and sensory quality of Bordeaux grapes, musts and wine for two consecutive vintages”. This paper, published in 2012 in the Australian Journal for Grape and Wine Research, aimed to determine how Botrytis cinerea infection on the chemical, enological (phenolic), and sensory qualities of Merlot grapes, must, and wine from the Bordeaux region of France. Using both naturally and artificially infected grapes, chemical analyses were performed on the seeds and skins of the grapes, as well as the musts and finished wine made from varying ratios of healthy versus infected grapes.

Interestingly, the results showed no differences in chemical composition between healthy and infected grapes when examining the seeds alone. However, the skins of Botrytis-infected grapes showed a significant reduction in all phenolic compounds, as well as a negative effect on the polymerization of proanthocyanidins. In the musts and finished wines, the

Photo By The original uploader was Yelkrokoyade at French Wikipedia [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia Commons

Photo By The original uploader was Yelkrokoyade at French Wikipedia [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia Commons

results showed the Botrytis infection had a moderate effect on chemical and phenolic composition, though the sensory analysis indicated significant decreases in quality (aroma, flavor, mouthfeel, etc) with as little as 5% of the original grapes having been infected with Botrytis cinerea.

Though there were no effects of Botrytis cinerea infection on the seeds, even the slightest presence of infection (i.e. in 5% or more of the grapes) negatively affected the composition and quality of the wine. This study isn’t telling us too much we didn’t already know about Botrytis cinerea infections, but it’s still nice to see the results repeated and confirmed in another study.

Source: Ky, I., Lorrain, B., Jourdes, M., Pasquier, G., Fermaud, M., GĂ©ny, L., Rey, P., Doneche, B., and Teissedre, P.L. 2012. Assessment of grey mould (Botrytis cinerea) impact on phenolic and sensory quality of Bordeaux grapes, musts and wine for two consecutive vintages. Australian Journal of Grape and Wine Research 18: 215-226.

HEALTH/RANDOM:

“Effect of dietary supplementation with either red wine extract or vitamin E on the volatile profile of lamb meat fed with omega-3 sources”. This paper, published in 2013 in the journal Meat Science, aimed to examine the effect of either Vitamin E or red wine extract supplements on the volatile composition of lamb meat, in addition to the effect of refrigerated storage under high oxygen conditions. Basically, lambs were fed an omega-3 rich diet that was supplemented with either Vitamin E, red wine extract, or nothing (control), then …………………lamb chops!

Results showed that Vitamin E supplementation in the diet of lambs led to the most reduced lipo-oxidation compounds in the meat, followed by red wine extract, then coming in last the control diet with no supplementation. It was found that Vitamin E supplementation in the diet of lambs was more effective in protecting against lipo-oxidation compounds than red wine extract, though one should note the red wine extract was still more effective than the control treatment. Finally, it was found that after 6 days of storage in a high oxygen environment, there was an even greater decrease in lipo-oxidation compounds, which may have been due to the fact that the Vitamin E and red wine extract were able to work their antioxidant magic over a longer period of time, thus reducing lipo-oxidation levels even more.

Lamb Chop! Photo By Ford Motor Company (show sponsor). Ford used their advertising agency, J. Walter Thompson, to distribute the photos. Uploaded by We hope at en.wikipedia [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Lamb Chop!
Photo By Ford Motor Company (show sponsor). Ford used their advertising agency, J. Walter Thompson, to distribute the photos. Uploaded by We hope at en.wikipedia [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The moral of this story? Feeding lambs an omega-3 rich diet plus Vitamin E or red wine extract may very well result in lamp chops that are a little bit better for us than if the lamb’s diets were not supplemented with anything. Vitamin E appears to be more effective, but red wine extract was more effective than the control, and hey, at least it’s not worse!

Source: Rivas-Cañedo, A., Apeleo, E., Muiño, I., Pérez, C., Lauzurica, S., Pérez-Santaescolástica, C., Díaz, M.T., Cañeque, V., and de la Fuente, J. 2013. Effect of dietary supplementation with either red wine extract or vitamin E on the volatile profile of lamb meat fed with omega-3 sources. Meat Science 93: 178-186.

2 comments for “Wine Literature Review Lightning Round: 6th Edition

  1. WineKnurd
    June 24, 2013 at 6:38 am

    Hi Becca,

    Did the Aussie study explain why they chose only Merlot grapes in their study? Would have been interesting to see a side by side of negative rot (in red grapes) vs beneficial rot (white grapes like Sauvignon Blanc, used in Sauternes).

    Love the lamb chop picture! :)

    • Becca
      July 7, 2013 at 8:33 pm

      Ooops! Forgot to reply! eeek!! I’m not sure why they only used Merlot….I bet that’s all they were able to do for time or financial reasons! I would also like to see that side by side you brought up as well! Could be a cool study!

What do you think about this topic?