Grape contribution to wine aroma: production of hexyl acetate, octyl acetate, and benzyl acetate during yeast fermentation is dependent upon precursors in the must

J Agric Food Chem. 2012 Mar 14;60(10):2638-46. doi: 10.1021/jf2042517. Epub 2012 Feb 29.


Wine is a complex consumer product produced predominately by the action of yeast upon grape juice musts. Model must systems have proven ideal for studies of the effects of fermentation conditions on the production of certain wine volatiles. To identify grape-derived precursors to acetate esters, model fermentation systems were developed by spiking precursors into model must at different concentrations. Solid-phase microextraction-gas chromatgraphy mass spectrometry analysis of the fermented wines showed that a variety of grape-derived aliphatic alcohols and aldehydes are precursors to acetate esters. The C6 compounds hexan-1-ol, hexenal, (E)-2-hexen-1-ol, and (E)-2-hexenal are all precursors to hexyl acetate, and octanol and benzyl alcohol are precursors to octyl acetate and benzyl acetate, respectively. In these cases, the postfermentation concentration of an acetate ester increased proportionally with the prefermentation concentration of the respective precursor in the model must. Determining viticultural or winemaking methods to alter the prefermentation concentration of precursor compounds or change the precursor-to-acetate ester ratio will have implications upon the final flavor and aroma of wines.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acetates / chemistry
  • Acetates / metabolism*
  • Fermentation
  • Molecular Structure
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / metabolism*
  • Vitis / chemistry*
  • Vitis / microbiology*
  • Volatile Organic Compounds / analysis*
  • Volatile Organic Compounds / metabolism
  • Wine / analysis*


  • Acetates
  • Volatile Organic Compounds