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Open Access Research article

Effect of artificial shading on the tannin accumulation and aromatic composition of the Grillo cultivar (Vitis vinifera L.)

Pietro Scafidi1, Antonino Pisciotta1, Davide Patti1, Pasquale Tamborra2, Rosario Di Lorenzo1 and Maria Gabriella Barbagallo1*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Agricultural and Forest Sciences, Università degli Studi di Palermo, Viale delle Scienze 11 ed. H, Palermo 90128, Italy

2 CRA-UTV, Via Vittorio Veneto 26, Barletta, BA 70051, Italy

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BMC Plant Biology 2013, 13:175  doi:10.1186/1471-2229-13-175

Published: 6 November 2013

Abstract

Background

White wine quality, especially in warm climates, is affected by sunlight and heat stress. These factors increase the probability that ambering processes will occur and reduce the potential flavour compounds. This study aimed to investigate the effect of sunlight reduction on the accumulation of polyphenolic and aromatic compounds.

Results

This study was conducted in a commercial vineyard containing V. vinifera L. cv Grillo. Opaque polypropylene boxes (100% shading) and high-density polyethylene (HDPE) net bags (50% shading) were applied at fruit set. The effect of the shaded treatments was compared to the exposed fruit treatment. The shaded treatments resulted in heavier berries and lower must sugar contents than the exposed treatments. Proanthocyanidins and total polyphenol levels were similar in the exposed and bagged grapes; however, the levels were always lower in the boxed fruit. At harvest, the highest aroma level was measured in the boxed fruits.

Conclusions

The boxed fruit had less sugar, fewer proanthocyanidins and more flavours than the exposed grapes.

The reduction in flavanols reactive to p-dimethylamino-cinnamaldehyde as (+)-catechin equivalents and total skin proanthocyanidins is an important result for the white winemaking process. In addition, the higher level of aromatic compounds in shaded grapes at harvest is an important contribution to the development of different wine styles.

Keywords:
Sunlight; Temperature; Catechins; Proanthocyanidins; Flavour compounds