Do we really understand what experts tell us about wine?

Expert wine tasters have a greater ability than non-experts to discriminate between and evaluate the sensory properties of wine. In this study the authors explore non-experts’ understanding of a set of 64 terms which are frequently used as descriptors of the sensory properties of wine. The results reinforce the idea that when people describe wine or convey information, there is a serious risk of misunderstandings occurring when experts communicate with standard consumers. This indicates a necessity for wine industries to invest in research aimed at ensuring that experts (e.g. sommeliers, oenologists or producers) refer to the same basic sensory dimensions relating to wine as standard consumers. The present paper aimed to raise the question of whether the dimension referred to by experts (in the present case relating to a wine’s body or its acidity, for instance) matches the dimension that non-experts think of. This study has shown that modelling these dimensions in terms of opposite poles (which is typical of some tasting scales used by experts) also works quite well for standard consumers.

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The reduction of plant sink/source by cluster thinning does not systematically improve the composition of grape

The quality of wine grapes depends on the balance between primary and secondary metabolites. Unlike many perennial crops that accumulate starch in the fruits before ripening, the non-climacteric grapes ripe with no previous carbon reserves. Based on the assumption that fruit carbon sink is limiting metabolite accumulation in grapes, bunch thinning is performed to limit plant Sink/Source (S/S). This post summarizes a study carried out to study the effects of severe bunch thinning on the accumulation of primary metabolites and on four families of glycosylated aroma precursors (GAPs) at the arrest of fruit phloem unloading of two white grape Vitis vinifera cvs. At plant level, crop reduction resulted in significant losses of metabolites to be accumulated in the fruits: i.e. up to 72% for sugars, 75% for organic acids and GAPs. Nevertheless, S/S manipulation could not modify the balance between GAPs and primary metabolites or increase the concentration in GAPs in the physiologically ripe grape.

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Understanding 21st Century Bordeaux Wines from Wine Reviews Using Naïve Bayes Classifier

Although wine has been produced for several thousands of years, the ancient beverage has remained popular and even more affordable in modern times. Among all wine making regions, Bordeaux, France is probably one of the most prestigious wine areas in history. Since hundreds of wines are produced from Bordeaux each year, humans are not likely to be able to examine all wines across multiple vintages to define the characteristics of outstanding 21st century Bordeaux wines. Wineinformatics is a newly proposed data science research with an application domain in wine to process a large amount of wine data through the computer. This post summarizes the results of a study carried out with the goal of this paper is to build a high-quality computational model on wine reviews processed by the full power of the Computational Wine Wheel to understand 21st century Bordeaux wines. The model build in this research can better distinguish outstanding and class 21st century Bordeaux wines. Results provides new directions in Wineinformatics for technical research in data science, such as regression, multi-target, classification and domain specific research, including wine region terroir analysis, wine quality prediction, and weather impact examination.

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Photosynthetic acclimation to high temperature in Syrah and Grenache

Photosynthesis acclimation to high temperature differs among and within species. Grapevine intra-specific variation in photosynthetic acclimation to elevated temperature has been scarcely assessed. A study was carried out to (i) evaluate the mechanisms underlying long-term acclimation of photosynthesis to elevated temperature in grapevine, and (ii) determine whether these responses are similar among two varieties. The study provides evidence that grapevine varieties present different acclimation mechanisms to expected warming.

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Is there an impact of Sound Vibration on Grape Wine?

Understanding the plant microbiome is a key for plant health and controlling pathogens. Recent studies have shown that plants are responsive towards natural and synthetic sound vibration (SV) by perception and signal transduction, which resulted in resistance towards plant pathogens. However, whether or not native plant microbiomes respond to SV and the underlying mechanism thereof remains unknown. Within the present study we compared grapevine-associated microbiota that was perpetually exposed to classical music with a non-exposed control group from the same vineyard in Stellenbosch, South Africa. Results show an as yet unexplored avenue for improved plant health and the terroir of wine, which are important for environmentally friendly horticulture and consumer appreciation. Although our findings explain one detail of the long-term positive experience to improve grapevine’s resilience by this unusual but innovative technique, more mechanistic studies are necessary to understand the whole interplay.

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The Wine Influencers: Exploring a New Communication Model of Open Innovation on Social Networks

Wine Influencers (WIs) represent a new type of independent third-party endorsers that are progressively establishing themselves within social networks. This study analyzes the characteristics of the activity of WIs and the communication model used via Instagram. Netnographic Analysis, Factor Analysis and AGIL methods were applied. The results show five Key-findings within specific relationships established during discussions: advice from Wine Influencers and generalized reciprocity in relationships; structural and social bonds established based on the frequency of messages from regular followers; peer-to-peer relationship development through recommendation; development of trust established through online relationships; wine influencer’s influence on followers regarding everything about the wine. The study derives a model that explains the communication dimensions used by WIs that are: advertising (information about product/brand) (35.71%); persuasion—added value to brand and product (42.62%); brand democratization (10.07%); and identity (8.03%). This study provides a novel contribution to the open innovation process of small and medium-sized wine industries for their marketing strategies.

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How remote sensing technology can improve soil & water conservation in vineyards

Hillslope viticulture is a valuable practice across Mediterranean Europe and beyond, not just in economic terms but also for its historical tradition and cultural heritage. Yet, soil degradation such as erosion or slope failure is a growing challenge for cultivators and is threatening the preservation of these landscapes. Future climate projections show a trend of extreme rainfall events, and already nowadays we can witness its impact on soil degradation. In this work, we illustrate how soil and water conservation in vineyards is facilitated by the support of remote sensing technologies such as low-cost drone surveys. Remote sensing allows high-precision mapping of the vineyard ground surface through 3D reconstruction. This can be used to detect, understand or even predict soil degradation, for example by simulating the flow of water and sediments across a vineyard. Such a workflow enables efficient scenario analyses of new vineyard interventions or climatic conditions. Soil protection works can be guided by this workflow for a rapid and low-cost evaluation of new designs. As such, landscape planners are encouraged to utilise this potential to help safeguarding the sustainability of vineyard landscapes.

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Drought impacts on key secondary metabolites: new insights from grape berries to wines

This post reports the results of a study aimed to explore the impact of water deficit on the concentration of key flavour and phenolic secondary metabolites of wines. It was observed that drought-induced compositional changes to the grapes were transferred to the wines, with an increase in polyphenols and volatile organic compounds. However, the timing and the duration of the water stress in the field only heavily impacted the final wine composition with major metabolic modification when the severe water deficit started early and lasted over the entire season until harvest. This study highlights the positive role of a controlled water deficit on the composition of the wines in terms of secondary metabolites

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“Is biodiversity linked with farm management options in vineyard landscapes? A case study combining ecological indicators within a hybrid modelling framework”, Ecological Indicators, 2021

Sustainable management of biodiversity in agricultural landscapes is a European Union objective supported on multifunctional agri-environment measures. The effectiveness of specific practices implemented to reverse declines in farmland biodiversity should be monitored using straightforward methodologies and indicators. This post is about a study which outlined an innovative hybrid framework integrating monitoring, statistics and spatiotemporal modelling procedures to predict the response of biodiversity indicators to farm management options in a viticultural landscape of Portugal, the Demarcated Douro Wine Region.

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Facing Giants: The Wine Industry in Canada

The Canadian wine industry is a small but growing sector of the economy rooted in non-metropolitan areas. Dependent upon local natural resources and climatic conditions and coupled with changes in consumers’ preferences, wineries are pressured to adopt and develop more ecological practices and production processes. This post is based on a study that explores the main drivers of eco-innovation and analyzes differences between the factors associated with eco-innovation and conventional innovation.

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