The effect of berry shrivelling on Shiraz wine composition and sensory characteristics

by | Oct 18, 2019 | South Africa Wine Scan

The aim of the study was to determine the effect of late-season Shiraz berry dehydration (berry shrivel) on the chemical and sensory properties of the resulting wine.


  • Shiraz grapes were harvested on 25 February 2016 from a commercial vineyard (8 – 10 t/ha) in New South Wales, Australia.
  • Grape bunches were manually sorted into two groups: shrivelled and non-shrivelled. Grape bunches with 80% or more shrivelled berries were classified as shrivelled. The individual shrivelled berries in the non-shrivelled bunches were manually removed.
  • 25 kg of grapes were fermented in triplicate for each treatment in 100L stainless steel tanks.
  • pH was adjusted with tartaric acid to 3.6 three times during the winemaking process.
  • Fermentation was conducted with EC 1118 between 24 and 28°C.
  • The must was inoculated one day after the start of alcoholic fermentation with MLF culture: Enoferm Alpha.
  • YAN was adjusted to 250 mg/L with DAP and Fermaid A after the onset of fermentation.
  • The wine was pressed, cold stabilised and bottled.
  • Various chemical analyses were conducted on the juice and wine.
  • Descriptive sensory analysis was conducted by a trained panel two months after harvest.


  • Basic grape juice parameters were similar for shrivelled and non-shrivelled berries.
  • Wine made from shrivelled berries had 1% percentage alcohol more than wine made from non-shrivelled berries, despite initial Brix values being similar for the two treatments. It is hypothesized that it is probably due to raisin-like berries in the shrivelled grapes that remained intact after initial crushing, and only released their sugars during fermentation.
  • Wine colour parameters indicated faster oxidative ageing for the shrivelled berries wine.
  • Shrivelled berries wine had lower concentrations of fruity acetate esters.
  • Berry shrivelling did not affect amino acid content and YAN.
  • Massoia lactone (cooked and dry fruit) and ƴ-nonalactone (prune) concentrations were higher in wines made from shrivelled berries.
  • Sensory analysis revealed wines from shrivelled berries to be more alcoholic and astringent, and higher in dark and stewed fruit aromas than wines from non-shrivelled berries.
  • Wines from non-shrivelled berries had a higher perception of red fruit notes and acidity.


The study indicated the influence that berry shrivel can have on wine chemical and sensory properties and underscores the importance of pre-fermentation sorting of grapes in order to ensure desired sensory outcomes.

Hsiao-Chi Chou, Katja Šuklje, Guillaume Antalick, Leigh M. Schmidtke and John W. Blackman (2018). Late-season Shiraz berry dehydration that alters composition and sensory traits of wine. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 66 (29), 7750-7757. DOI: 10.1021/acs.jafc.8b01646

Image: Shutterstock

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