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Keywords:

  • mass spectrometry;
  • GC-MS;
  • LC-MS;
  • grape and wine aroma compounds;
  • wine pigments;
  • anthocyanins;
  • grape and wine proteins;
  • off-flavours;
  • taint

Abstract

Since 1971 mass spectrometry (MS) has made a significant contribution to wine research at the Australian Wine Research Institute (AWRI). In the past decade (1995–2004), MS has been involved in an expanded range of studies and now accounts for approximately 40% of AWRI publications appearing in peer-reviewed scientific journals. Studies involving MS include the analysis of grape-derived and fermentation-derived volatiles, oak volatiles, taint compounds, proteins, pigments and tannins. We discuss the contribution MS has made to wine research at the AWRI and the significant advances made by key scientists in this area. In particular, this review focuses on three main areas of analysis of compounds important to wine quality – volatile aroma and off-flavour compounds, involatile larger molecules such as proteins and tannins, and investigations into taint problems.