The Chemical Evolution and Preservation of Color in Red Wine Aging

During the last year we have been able to synthesize and purify labeled malvidin 3-glucoside (the major pigment in red wine). Our report on the novel procedure to prepare this radiolabeled substance has been accepted for publication. The amount of material produced was enough to start a series of experiments that study the fate of malvidin-3-glucoside during wine aging. The variables that are being varied are pH, temperature, tannin concentration, co-pigmentation and oxygen. In order to analyze the new products we have developed an analytical technique that combines the fractionation of polymeric compounds with tritium quantification.

We have also taken advantage of labeled malvidin-3-glucoside to study the fate of malvidin-3-glucoside during wine fermentation. In this case we have conducted small-scale fermentation where the labeled material has been added when the maximum concentration of anthocyanins occurred.

PDF: The Chemical Evolution and Preservation of Color in Red Wine Aging

Precipitation of Salivary Proteins by Wine Tannins

One of the objectives of the work during the 2002 season was to establish the relationship between values for tannin obtained in a protein precipitation assay using bovine serum albumin (BSA) and the amount of tannin that actually binds to salivary proteins. We found that the quantity of tannin in a wine that binds to BSA proteins and the amount that binds to human salivary proteins are virtually the same. Our work also showed that salivary proteins are much more efficient at binding tannin from wine than is the BSA protein. We found that salivary protein is about three times as efficient as BSA in binding tannins. We also found that the protein concentration in saliva from different donors can vary as much as 4 fold. Since people also have different salivary flow rates, the tannin binding capacity of different people vary greatly.Another objective was also to study how polymeric pigments, formed by the reaction of anthocyanins with tannins, bind to salivary proteins as compared to BSA. In this case we found that BSA and salivary proteins bind slightly different amounts of polymeric pigment, but have essentially the same efficiency of binding. Furthermore, salivary proteins bind tannins 12 times more efficiently than they bind polymeric pigments. This result suggests several possibilities. It may be that polymeric pigments are not simply typical tannins with anthocyanins attached. An alternative interpretation could be that anthocyanin reaction with tannin to form polymeric pigments drastically reduces the tannin molecule?s ability to bind to protein. Since reaction of anthocyanins with tannins to form polymeric pigments is one of the major changes that occurs during red wine aging, this may provide an explanation for why tannins become less astringent with aging. This would be because reaction of anthocyanin with tannin to form polymeric pigments reduces the ability of the tannin to bind to proteins and elicit the astringent sensation in the mouth.In studying the binding of tannins to salivary protein we found two different patterns of binding among the saliva donors in our study. Some people?s saliva exhibited typical linear binding while others showed cooperative tannin binding. This could reflect cooperative binding among the different proteins present, or might be restricted to the predominant species found in the saliva. The important point for our work is that regardless of the characteristics of tannin binding by different individuals, BSA binds the same amount of tannin as salivary proteins when protein is in excess. Since in our tannin assay the protein concentration is always in excess, we can be confident that regardless of the mode of binding we are able to measure the amount of tannin in grape extracts and wines that is responsible for astringency.

Composition of Tannins Extracted into Red Wine Emphasizing the Relative Amount of Skin and Seed Tannin

The goal of this proposal is to develop an analytical method to measure seed and skin tannin extraction during red wine fermentations, and to use this method to explore the relative significance of seed and skin tannins in red wine. With this technique, an improved understanding of the influence of viticultural and winemaking practices on wine composition and flavor will be achieved. To date, development of the analytical method is nearing completion. The method utilizes high performance liquid chromatography to analyze the composition of the grape source material as well as the finished wine. Based upon this information, the amount and proportion of skin and seed tannin can be determined. The method is reproducible and accurate. The final method will be used to monitor several experiments. These experiments include both vineyard and winery experiments designed to potentially affect the proportion of skin and seed tannins in wine. Experiments are being conducted on Pinot noir grapes and wine, with plans to include other varieties as well. Viticulture experiments include: a clonal variation experiment, ethanol application and maturity effects on tannin extraction in red wine. Enology experiments include: variations in cold soak time and enzyme addition.

Identification of Factors that Influence the Level of Large and Small Polymeric Pigments in Grapes and Wines

During the 2001 season we set out to identify the most important factors that influence the level of large and small polymeric pigments in wines. Polymeric pigments are important because they are the stable color compounds that form during fermentation and wine aging. We found that Pinot noir wines made after cold soak had more polymeric pigment at the time of pressing but that they had less after a period of barrel aging. All wines in our experiments exhibited dramatic compositional changes from pressing until the first racking, showing a decline in tannin and a large increase in both large and small polymeric pigments. Experiments with maximum fermentation temperatures showed that temperature probably plays the biggest role in tannin extraction and polymeric pigment formation. Three temperatures were used, 25C, 30C and 33C. Tannin, large polymeric pigment and small polymeric pigment were all greater at 33C than 25C with 30C intermediate. In all cases there were declines in tannin levels during barrel aging but a concomitant increase in the amount of polymeric pigments that formed. It is clear that important compositional changes occur during barrel aging with regard to tannins and polymeric pigments. It will be important to follow all of the wines made this season through to the level of finished wine in order to adequately evaluate all of the treatment effects imposed on the experimental wines.

Preliminary work indicated that polymeric pigments bleach to some extent with SO2. It was important to determine the extent to which they bleach so that correction factors could be derived for calculating the actual amount of polymeric pigments in wines. This is particularly important in aged wines (3 years or greater) where nearly all of the pigments can be present in the polymeric form. Using aged Pinot noir and Cabernet Sauvignon wines (8 to 28 years old) that contained no monomeric pigments we performed experiments using column purified polymeric pigments to show that they were indeed bleached extensively by SO2. Using combined protein precipitation and SO2 bleaching we were able to derive correction factors that we can now use to more accurately calculate the amount of polymeric pigments present in grape extracts and wines.

PDF: Identification of Factors that Influence the Level of Large and Small Polymeric Pigments in Grapes and Wines

The Extraction of Condensed Tannins in Red Wine Production

In order to validate the oxidation hypothesis of tannin development, and address our goal: Measure the presence of oxidized tannins in seeds, we are investigating methods to directly measure the initial oxidation produce of phenols, quinones. One method using a redox titration did not yield any oxidation product, and an attempt to directly observe quinones by NMR spectroscopy did not show any quinones present. The lack of response may be due to the low sensitivity of these two methods, so a third, and much more sensitive method is now being tested. It involves the production of a reaction product, phenazine, which is totally specific for the presence of ortho-phenols, the expected phenol in seed tannins. We are synthesizing a standard phenazine and will apply this method to testing for quinones in tannins. This method should be simple enough to apply in winery laboratories.

PDF: The Extraction of Condensed Tannins in Red Wine Production

Chemical Characterization of Small Polymeric Pigments in Wines and Red Grape Skin Extracts

Polymeric pigments are important because they are the stable form of color in wines. They are thought to be formed by reaction of monomeric anthocyanin pigments with tannins or flavan-3-ols, such as catechin or epicatechin. During the 1999 season we observed a class of low molecular weight polymeric anthocyanin pigments in wines. In new wines these pigments were a large percentage of the anthocyanin color not bleached by SO2, thus classifying them as polymeric pigments. On the other hand they were not precipitated by protein, which suggested that they had a low molecular weight compared to typical tannins. This observation raised many practical questions, but also brought up several important questions regarding the chemical nature of the small polymeric pigments (SPP), which we addressed in this project during the 2000 season.

One of the objectives of the work was to devise a purification scheme that would permit separation of small polymeric pigment (SPP) from monomeric anthocyanins and large polymeric pigment (LPP). We were successful in developing a procedure to purify SPP based on column chromatography on a Toyopearl HW-40(F) column and eluting the monomeric anthocyanins and the tannin fraction separately with different solvents. Using standard SO2 bleaching to assay polymeric pigments, we were able to show that the SPP actually resides in the monomeric fraction from the column. In the course of this work we discovered that the SPP could be partially bleached by SO2. This was an unexpected result, but indicates that further work needs to be done with polymeric pigments to determine the extent to which they are affected by SO2 bleaching. This is important because most assays for polymeric pigment rely on SO2 bleaching to distinguish them from monomeric anthocyanins. If polymeric pigments are indeed bleached by SO2, it means that such assays give an underestimate of the amount present, and that monomeric anthocyanins are overestimated.

A major accomplishment in this work during the past year has been the synthesis of an SPP dimer containing catechin as the extension unit and malvadin-3-glucoside as the terminal unit. The availability of this dimer by an unambiguous chemical synthetic route will enable us to confirm the structure of the naturally occurring dimer found in grape skin extracts and wine. The availability of the synthetic dimer will also enable us to determine if anthocyanin pigments having that configuration (catechin-malvadin-3-glucoside) are affected by SO2 bleaching. The chemical reaction by which we created the dimer may also point the way to understanding how polymeric pigments are formed in wines during aging.

PDF: Chemical Characterization of Small Polymeric Pigments in Wines and Red Grape Skin Extracts

The Chemical Evolution and Preservation of Color in Red Wine Aging

During the last year we have been working on the production of labeled malvidin 3-glucoside. Using unlabeled material, we have been able to optimize the conditions of enzymatic synthesis as well as the purification of malvidin-3-glucoside from starting material and side-products so that the reaction will yield adequate material to continue the project. Labeled malvidin-3-glucoside is not commercially available and there is no published method to produce it, which made the synthesis particularly difficult. An alternative procedure based on chemical labeling, which was tried first, did not work due to the ionization of anthocyanins, but it has produced other anthocyanins not described in the literature, and so these products may be interesting to analyze at some point later on.

We have also advanced the understanding of red colored polymeric structures and the analytical procedures to measure them. We have found a poor agreement between two analytical procedures, the traditional method of SO2 bleaching and the newly developed Normal Phase ? HPLC methodology. It is necessary to resolve the causes of these differences and also to compare them with the Adams? assay (based on tannin precipitation). This wine study will unequivocally show the origin of the pigmented polymers and clarify the best method to measure them.

PDF: The Chemical Evolution and Preservation of Color in Red Wine Aging

Biological Effects of Phenolic Compounds on Saccharomyces Cerevisiae

The goal of this project in the 2000-01 funding cycle was to further define the conditions under which phenolic compounds stimulate or inhibit fermentations. Phenolic extracts prepared from Cabernet Sauvignon grape skins were found to be stimulatory to yeast fermentation, particularly accelerating the rate of late fermentation. In contrast, seed phenolic extracts were inhibitory, again with the stronger effect being observed later in fermentation. Purified phenolic compounds were also evaluated for their effects. As reported last year, the effect of the individual phenolic compounds was influenced by media composition. In addition we discovered that there is significant strain variation in response to phenolic compounds.

PDF: Biological Effects of Phenolic Compounds on Saccharomyces Cerevisiae

Studies on the Interaction of Flavor Compounds with Non-Volatile Components of Wine

Flavor and aroma are important factors in influencing food and beverage (i.e., wine) choices. However, knowledge of flavor concentration alone is not sufficient to determine the perceived sensory aroma intensity. This is due to the presence of interactions between flavors and nonvolatile food components which can alter flavor volatility and release. We used NMR techniques to study the mechanisms of binding between flavor compounds and polyphenols, the main nonvolatile constituents of wine. Our results showed that the interactions are dependent on the structure of both the flavor compounds and the polyphenols. The interactions are principally due to hydrophobic interactions between the aromatic rings of the flavors and the polyphenols. However hydrogen-bonding effects help to stabilize the complex and enhance the specificity. By understanding the mechanisms of these interactions and their effects on flavor perception we will be better able to optimize grape and wine composition and winemaking procedures to improve wine flavor.

PDF: Studies on the Interaction of Flavor Compounds with Non-Volatile Components of Wine

Investigation of Mechanisms for Perception of Astringency

The mechanism by which astringency is perceived is unknown. Two different mechanisms have been proposed. 1. The ASTM defines astringency as the puckering or constricting of the oral epithelial tissue, suggesting that a morphological change occurs when an astringent system is evaluated. 2. In contrast, others hypothesize that the rough feeling of astringency occurs when salivary proteins bind to tannins, oral lubrication decreases and friction (roughness) is perceived. Preliminarily, from our study of the morphological changes in the epithelial mucosa, it appears that astringency does not result from “constriction of the oral tissue”. No obvious differences in distances between epithelial cells were observed after application of astringents. However, it is possible that the loose cells on the surface slough off after binding with tannins, perhaps resulting in perception of astringency, but this has not been substantiated. Consistent with the second hypothesis, in previous studies, it has been shown that individuals with low flow rates of saliva perceive astringency more intensely and longer than high-flow subjects. To confirm this effect of salivary flow rate independent of variation in use of the intensity rating scale, artificial saliva was introduced to the judge’s mouth at different flow rates. Astringency was rated lower at high flow rates of application than when lower rates of application were used. In both cases, comparison of individuals with different flow rates and with the application of artificial saliva at varying flow rates, the presumption has been that astringency decreases at a higher flow rate due to restoration of lubrication. However, no difference in astringency was found between application of artificial saliva with protein vs. an artificial saliva containing no protein. These results suggest that higher salivary flow rates may dilute or more thoroughly flush the mouth, and suggest that further research into the mechanism of astringency is needed. The persistence of astringency has been recognized but only recently has the carry-over effect been documented in which each sip of wine influences the astringency perceived in subsequent sips or wines. For meaningful evaluations of astringent red wines during winemaking, blending or in competitions a tasting protocol to remove or reduce the buildup of astringency must be developed. To do this, astringency was rated continuously while red wines were sipped, spit, and judges rinsed with one of 5 solutions. A pectin rinse reduced astringency intensity significantly more than the other rinses. We are presently investigating the most effective way to prevent the increase in intensity for wines varying in astringency level and to define the minimum time to recommend between wines.