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South African
Wine Lab Association:

Influences of Berry Size on Fruit Composition and Wine Quality of Vitis vinifera L. cv. ‘Cabernet Sauvignon’ Grapes

Wei-Kai Chen1,2, Fei He1,2, Yu-Xi Wang1,2, Xin Liu1,2, Chang-Qing Duan1,2, Jun Wang1,2,*

The heterogeneity of berry heterogeneity is a commonly occurring phenomenon that has a big influence on fruit composition and wine quality. To clarify this relationship, ‘Cabernet Sauvignon’ grapes were collected at harvest from a single vineyard and divided into three categories in two consecutive years: small (≤ 0.75 g), medium (0.76-1.25 g), and large (> 1.25 g). The medium berries were present in the highest frequency, accounting for more than 50% of the berry populations. The standard physicochemical parameters of the fruit were significantly affected by berry size. The relative skin mass and soluble solids contents, as well as total phenolic and anthocyanin concentrations, decreased with the berry size, while the relative seed mass, pH and malic acid content were positively correlated with berry weight. Accordingly, the wine composition also varied with berry size, as the wines made from small berries showed the highest alcohol and residual sugar content. CIELab parameters of the resulting wines showed the small berries were more desirable for making wine with a deeper and more saturated colour. With regard to volatile compounds, berry size showed a limited effect. Only 1-hexanol and laevo-2,3-butanediol showed consistent and significant trends across vintages for wine volatiles, which showed the highest levels in wines made from the small category of berries.

Berry size, wine grape, phenolic compounds, volatile compounds, natural variation

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