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Effects of mechanical thinning on fruit and wine composition and sensory attributes of Grenache and Tempranillo varieties (Vitis vinifera L.)

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Abstract Background and Aims: 

Cost-effective yield control is required by the wine industry in order to reduce the existing worldwide wine surplus and to improve grape quality. The object of this study was to evaluate the chemical and sensory effects on the resulting wines of mechanical cluster thinning performed at different intensities on Grenache, and at different timings (pea size and veraison) on Tempranillo. Methods and Results: 

The experiments were conducted with a machine harvester in 2007 on two commercial vertical shoot-positioned vineyards in Spain's Rioja region. In both varieties, mechanical thinning was effective in yield reduction and resulted in more ripened fruit, and wines with higher alcohol and pH values, more intense colour and increased phenolic content. Regardless of the thinning intensity, sensory changes were less noticeable in Grenache than in Tempranillo wines. Of the latter, those from vines thinned during veraison were less aromatic and sour, but had increased astringency. Conclusions: 

Yield management through mechanical thinning induced changes to the chemical composition of fruit and wines as well as to the wines' aroma, taste and mouthfeel. The extent of the sensory implications seems to depend on several factors such as the variety and timing of thinning application. Significance of the Study: 

This is one of the first studies addressing the effects of mechanical thinning on the sensory properties of the resulting wine and has implications for viticultural management practices.
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Keywords: Grenache; Tempranillo; Vitis vinifera L; mechanical thinning; sensory analysis; yield management

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Misión Biológica de Galicia (CSIC), El Palacio-Salcedo, 36143 Pontevedra, Spain 2: Instituto de las Ciencias de la Vid y del Vino (Universidad de La Rioja, CSIC, Gobierno de La Rioja), Madre de Dios, 51, 26006 Logroño, Spain

Publication date: 2010-06-01

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