Grape Ripening Secrets Uncovered

New grape genetic data has potential to impact wine production.



A team of scientists led by Laurent Deluc and colleagues from the University of Nevada, Reno and Boston University School of Medicine, has uncovered new information that's set to transform our understanding of the grape ripening process.

 

Deluc's team surveyed 7 different stages of grape berry development for the V. vinifera Cabernet Sauvignon variety of grape.

 

The scientists analyzed the role of RNA in a host of processes including organic and amino acid metabolism, photosynthesis, circadian cycles and pathogen resistance. In particular, genetic changes associated with calcium signaling genes that play a role in aroma and flavonoid compound production were mapped.

 

And analysis of sugar metabolism gene expression pattern revealed a previously uncharacterized pathway for glucose and triose phosphate production invoked from véraison to mature berries.

 

It's hard to predict how these discoveries will affect wine production in the short-term as functional testing is required, says Deluc.

 

"But, for sure, it may help by providing new elements to enhance our understanding of berry development. That could help growers estimate the best day to harvest their grapes and hence produce better wines," says Deluc.

 

For example, it might be possible to improve the aging of certain wines by altering the genetic expression of certain tannins—which play a key role in stabilizing wine over time.

 

Deluc is currently working on a separate paper about the effect of water deficit on wine quality that identifies specific genes that could be used as bio-markers of the grapevine and also of wine quality.

 

"In the near future we might be able to overexpress one of these genes to improve grapevine tolerance to stresses such as cold, salt or water. By identifying those genes related to these abiotic stresses, we will be able to choose exactly the right clone to grow—even in the desert or mountainous regions," says Deluc.

 

More Online Exclusive articles:

Edit Module
Edit Module

Related Articles

10 Reasons to Drink Australian

It’s time to give Australia’s unique wines another look.

Bust Out of the Burgundy Box

Burgundy may be an Old World classic, but that doesn’t mean the other items on the table have to be.

2012 California Pinot Noir: A Year of Plenty

California’s 2012 vintage was almost too easy. Our West Coast editors weigh in on the best Pinot Noirs of the year.

46 Top Rated Champagne and Sparkling Wines

The holiday season signals one thing: Time to break out the bubbles.
Edit Module
Edit Module

Subscribe

You can unsubscribe at any time. View an example of our newsletter.

Edit Module

Shop

Edit Module
>
Edit Module
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow TagsEdit Module

Related Web Articles