This study was conducted in order to improve our understanding of how phenolics and aroma compounds change in wine grapes during postharvest dehydration. Pinot noir grapes grown in the Willamette Valley of Oregon were harvested at 22.0 and 24.0°Brix. Grapes harvested at 22.0°Brix were divided into three equal lots with one lot immediately used for wine production, and the remaining two lots placed inside an air tunnel with an air speed of 1.0-1.8ms(-1), 38% relative humidity and a temperature of 22°C. The soluble solids content and weight loss were measured daily and wines were made from grapes when they reached 24.8 and 26.7°Brix. The soluble solids of grapes increased about 1°Brix per day; therefore, on the third and fourth day the berries reached the desired concentration; weight loss was 14 and 16%, respectively. Results from berry phenolic analysis indicated that per berry anthocyanin amount remained unchanged during dehydration. The composition of proanthocyanidins isolated from berries changed during dehydration. Volatile compounds in wines made from dehydrated grapes contained more terpenes and norisoprenoids (β-ionone, β-damascenone) when compared to wine made from the original fruit. Wines made from increasingly dehydrated grapes tended to resemble the composition and flavour profile of wines made from grapes left on the vine (i.e. with extended ripening). The results of this study suggest that postharvest flavour changes consistent with changes during fruit ripening can occur in grapes when harvested early and allowed to dehydrate under controlled conditions prior to fermentation.
Keywords: Anthocyanins; Aroma; Dehydration; Grapes; Pinot noir; Postharvest; Proanthocyanidins; Volatiles; Wine.
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