Evaluation of the Influence of Common Viticultural Practices on the Chemical and Sensory Characteristics of Wines
The goal of this project is to find critical viticultural parameters that affect the chemical and sensory characteristics of the final wine. Once these parameters are identified, winemakers and vineyard managers can use computational methods developed in our lab in order to suggest the best vineyard practices to use to achieve specific target characteristics in their final wine. We are taking two complementary approaches to this problem. First, we are developing tools for searching through large existing databases of viticultural information to find the most critical factors. A Decision Tree Analysis algorithm has been developed in our lab for this purpose, and several decision metrics have been evaluated. Second, we are producing Cabernet Sauvignon wines from existing viticultural trials at the Oakville Experimental Station. For the past two harvests, we have produced 37 wines from grapes harvested from vines differing in parameters such as rootstock, irrigation, trellis, pruning, row orientation, and vine density. Chemical analysis of the wines from the first harvest has been completed, and the data has been analyzed. Especially interesting results have been found on the effects of trellis system and crop load on the phenolic profile of the completed wines. Sensory analysis of these wines has also been initiated.
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