Early leaf removal impact on volatile composition of Tempranillo wines

J Sci Food Agric. 2012 Mar 15;92(4):935-42. doi: 10.1002/jsfa.4673. Epub 2011 Oct 3.


Background: Early defoliation is a very innovative technique in viticulture used for yield management. The effects of early leaf removal performed manually and mechanically at two different phenological stages, pre-bloom and fruit set, on the volatile composition of Tempranillo (Vitis vinifera L.) wines were studied. Volatiles were identified and quantified by gas chromatography.

Results: Early leaf removal only modified the total concentrations of C₆ compounds and acetates, whereas total alcohols, esters, volatile acids and terpenes remained generally unaffected. Early defoliation induced a significant reduction in C₆ compounds and increased the concentrations of acetates in Tempranillo wines. An effect of timing (pre-bloom vs fruit set) alone was observed for all acetates analysed. Regarding the method of defoliation (manual vs mechanical), significant differences in some ethyl ester (ethyl-2-methylbutyrate and ethyl octanoate) and volatile acid concentrations were observed among treatments. Ethyl octanoate, 2-phenylethyl acetate, 3-methylbutyl acetate and hexanoic acid, with OAV (odour activity value) > 1 and mainly fruity and floral odour descriptors, showed higher levels after early defoliation treatments compared with non-defoliated vines. Principal component analysis illustrated the difference in wines from defoliated and non-defoliated treatments based on their volatile composition.

Conclusion: It can be concluded that early leaf removal significantly modified the wine aroma compounds, increasing or decreasing several of these compounds.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acetates / analysis
  • Acetates / chemistry
  • Agriculture / methods*
  • Fatty Acids, Volatile / analysis
  • Fatty Acids, Volatile / chemistry
  • Fermentation
  • Flame Ionization
  • Food Handling
  • Fruit / chemistry
  • Fruit / growth & development*
  • Odorants
  • Principal Component Analysis
  • Quality Control
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / metabolism
  • Spain
  • Vitis / chemistry
  • Vitis / growth & development*
  • Volatile Organic Compounds / analysis*
  • Volatile Organic Compounds / chemistry
  • Wine / analysis*
  • Wine / microbiology


  • Acetates
  • Fatty Acids, Volatile
  • Volatile Organic Compounds