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Characterisation of Vernaccia Nera (Vitis vinifera L.) grapes and Wine

D. Fracassetti, M. Gabrielli, O. Corona, A. Tirelli

Vernaccia Nera (VN) is a minor Italian red grape cultivar whose oenological properties have not been
investigated yet. Traditional winemaking procedures with VN can include grape drying and even triple
sequential fermentations, but a rational vinification approach should be based on the grape composition.
Since a comprehensive characterisation of the VN grape is still missing, the ripening of VN grapes was
monitored by evaluating flavour compounds, proanthocyanidins and anthocyanins. The grapes were used
to produce red wine whose chemical composition and sensory properties were assessed. Ripe VN grapes
contained high amounts of extractable anthocyanins (0.88 g/kg). The most abundant anthocyanin was
malvidin (56.6%), and high relative amounts of cumarate forms (11.3%) were also found. The grape skin
showed a high concentration of proanthocyanidins (2 g/kg), whose degree of polymerisation was low (10.3).
Epigallocatechin accounted for up to 39% of the flavan-3-ol units in the skin. Flavour compounds in the
grapes included glycosylated norisoprenoids (mainly 3-oxo-α-ionol and vomifoliolo) and benzenoids. The
VN red wine showed a high concentration of anthocyanins, but the level of proanthocyanidins (0.93 g/L)
was lower than expected. The spicy flavours were the notes mostly recognised in the sensory evaluation.
Our data highlight the VN grape as suitable for the production of ready-to-drink or shortly aged red wine
due to its high acidity and low astringency.

Vernaccia Nera, phenols, grape, ripening, winemaking

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