While there are particular instruments and exact science to measure sugar and acidity levels in wine grapes and wine, the analysis of phenolics and tannins has always relied on mostly taste and instinct, until now.
UBC Okanagan scientists have just cracked the code to help winemakers work a little more intimately with their grapes.
From The Vancouver Sun:
Saucier hopes to create a tool to monitor the ripening of grapes for what vintners call “phenolic maturity,” which would allow them to pick grapes at the optimal moment.
“Vintners can already measure the accumulation of sugars and acids in ripening grapes, but measuring the phenolics and tannins has been the more difficult question,” he said.
Delcambre originally decided to go looking for phenolic compounds in wine after reading that many such chemicals have been identified in fruits. Phenols are commonly found in pomegranate, cocoa, cranberries and rhubarb.
Some of the compounds Delcambre and Saucier identified have been found in other plants, while others were completely unknown.
“We found them in grape seeds and then we found them in wine, so it was very exciting,” said Saucier.