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Keywords:

  • amelioration;
  • guaiacol;
  • reverse osmosis;
  • smoke taint;
  • wine

Abstract

Background and Aims:  Wines made from grapes harvested from vineyards exposed to bushfire smoke can exhibit objectionable ‘smoky’, ‘cold ash’, ‘medicinal’ and ‘ashy’ aroma and flavour characters. This study evaluated a combined reverse osmosis and solid phase adsorption process as a potential amelioration method for the treatment of smoke-tainted wines.

Methods and Results:  Smoke-tainted wines were treated using either pilot or commercial scale reverse osmosis systems and the chemical composition and sensory properties of wine compared before and after treatment. The concentrations of smoke-derived volatile phenols, including marker compounds, guaiacol and 4-methylguaiacol, decreased significantly with treatment. As a consequence, diminished smoke-related sensory attributes enabled treated wines to be readily differentiated from untreated wines. However, the taint was found to slowly return with time, likely because of hydrolysis of glycoconjugate precursors, which were not removed during the treatment process.

Conclusions:  Reverse osmosis and solid phase adsorption reduced the concentration of smoked-derived volatile phenols and improved the sensory attributes of smoke-tainted wines.

Significance of the Study:  This is the first study to evaluate the amelioration of smoke taint in wine using reverse osmosis and solid phase adsorption.