Merlot is a widely planted grape varietal in South Africa. In the 2017 Platter Guide however, there are only two five star Merlots and only a few 4.5 star Merlots. South African producers, tasters and consumers are unsure and divided about the taste characteristics of high quality Merlots, and don’t know what to expect from a Merlot. The objective of this project is to identify from tasting notes and wine reviews, the taste characteristics of high, average and low quality single-varietal Merlots. The researchers will use data mining techniques to determine if they can obtain a better description or definition of Merlot characteristics. They will use data from Platter’s Wine Guide primary data source, which offers an almost complete coverage of South African wines. They will be analysing data from various editions, due to the small number of highly-ranked Merlots. The researchers will complement this with reviews extracted from accessible overseas sources. The will then use the ConceptCloud tool to visualise and interactively explore the data set containing the tasting notes, rating, price, winery, vineyard and winemaker details.
These outcomes can thus be greatly beneficial for Merlot producers in terms of guiding the winemaking process to improve flavour and quality, thus lifting the standard across the board; it can also be used for marketing purposes.
This is a three month proof of concept project.
Researcher: Prof. B. Fischer