Vegetative Aroma: Sensory Definition, Chemical Interpretation (and ultimately) causal explanation

Research Objectives for this study include the following:

  1. Identify the wine industry?s and consumer?s criteria for identifying a wine as “vegetative”.
  2. Define the meaning of “vegetative aroma” in quantifiable sensory terms by profiling wines by descriptive analysis.
  3. Identify chemical components and their interactions which may affect the intensity of vegetative character.
  4. Relate viticultural and enological parameters to the aroma profiles and to the
    intensity of vegetative character.

During the past year, sensory studies have shown that vegetative aromas can be masked
by fruity flavors (Objective 2). These results are important because they show an
interrelationship between sensory perception of vegetal and fruity characters. Therefore,
even when the chemical concentration of compounds with vegetal aromas does not
change, the perception of vegetal character may be masked by other fruit related sensory
aromas. We are also completing sensory studies on wine made from fruit obtained from
4 different vineyard locations in California and with different cluster microclimates (with
the main effect being differences in light intensity) (Objective 4). These sensory studies
will give us information on the effect of cluster microclimate on vegetal character of
Cabernet wines. Additionally, wines from cluster thinning trials were made and we
propose to do sensory analysis of these wines during 2005/06.