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Keywords:

  • activated carbon;
  • amelioration;
  • fining agent;
  • guaiacol;
  • smoke taint;
  • wine

Abstract

Background and Aims:  Fermentation of smoke-affected grapes can lead to wines that exhibit objectionable smoke-related sensory attributes, i.e. smoke taint. Fining agents are routinely used at different stages of the winemaking process to address constituents that are considered to adversely affect juice or wine quality. This study aimed to evaluate the efficacy of commercial fining agents in reducing the concentration of volatile phenols and the intensity of sensory attributes associated with smoke-tainted wine.

Methods and Results:  Smoke-affected wines were treated with a range of fining agents, two of which, an activated carbon and a synthetic mineral, were found to appreciably ameliorate the taint. Treated wines contained a significantly lower level of smoke-derived volatile phenols and exhibited less intense ‘smoke’ and ‘cold ash’ aromas, ‘smoky’ flavour and ‘ashy’ aftertaste, compared with that of untreated (control) wines; with little or no impact on wine colour.

Conclusions:  Selected fining agents can ameliorate smoke taint in wine. Whereas most fining agents showed poor specificity towards the wine components responsible for smoke taint, some, an activated carbon in particular, were highly effective.

Significance of the Study:  This research identifies a treatment that can be used to mitigate the impact of grapevine exposure to smoke on wine composition and sensory properties.