To what extent are the effects of UV radiation on grapes conserved in the resulting wines?

by | Oct 28, 2021 | South Africa Wine Scan

Background and aim:

Ultraviolet (UV) radiation strongly influences grape composition, but only a few studies have focused on how this influence is conserved in the resulting wines. Here researchers analyzed to what extent the changes induced by exposing Tempranillo grapes to UV radiation from budbreak to harvest were conserved in wine.


By using different cut-off filters and lamps, the team differentiated the effects of ambient levels of UV-A and UV-B wavelengths, as well as the effects of a realistic UV-B enhancement associated with climate change.


Among phenolic compounds, the most consistent responses to UV were those of flavonols (particularly quercetin, kaempferol-, isorhamnetin- and myricetin-glycosides), which significantly increased in wines whose grapes had been exposed to a synergic combination of UV-A and UV-B radiation. This confirms that flavonols are the phenolic compounds most reliably conserved from UV-exposed grapes to wine, despite the possible influence of the winemaking process. Flavonols are important compounds because they contribute to wine co-pigmentation by stabilizing anthocyanins, and they are interesting antioxidants and nutraceuticals. Hydroxycinnamic acids also increased under the same UV combination or under UV-A alone. Wine VOCs were much less reactive to the UV received by grapes than phenolic compounds, and only esters showed significantly higher values under (mainly) UV-A alone. This was surprising because (1) UV-A has been considered to be less important than UV-B to induce metabolic changes in plants, and (2) esters are produced during winemaking. Esters are relevant due to their contribution to the fruity aroma in wines. In general, the remaining phenolic compounds (stilbenes, flavanols, hydroxybenzoic acids, and anthocyanins) and VOCs (alcohols, hydrocarbons, and fatty acids), together with wine color and antioxidant capacity, showed inconsistent or non-significant responses to UV radiation. These results were summarized by a multivariate analysis.

Significance of the study:

The study opens up new possibilities to artificially manipulate UV radiation in grapevine cultivation to improve both grape and wine quality.


Del-Castillo-Alonso, M.-Á.; Monforte, L.; Tomás-Las-Heras, R.; Martínez-Abaigar, J.; Núñez-Olivera, E. To What Extent Are the Effects of UV Radiation on Grapes Conserved in the Resulting Wines? Plants 2021, 10, 1678.


Image credit:

This abstract is republished in its original form, with headings inserted, as permitted by the following Creative Commons license: Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (

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