The study aimed to quantify the effects of grape maturity on wine alcohol, phenolics, flavour compounds and polysaccharides in Vitis vinifera L. cv Cabernet Sauvignon.
Grapes were harvested at juice soluble solids from 20 to 26 °Brix which corresponded to a range of wine ethanol concentrations between 12% and 15.5%.
Grape anthocyanin and skin tannin concentration increased as ripening progressed, while seed tannin declined. In the corresponding wines, monomeric anthocyanin and wine tannin concentration increased with harvest date, consistent with an enhanced extraction of skin-derived phenolics.
In wines, there was an observed increase in yeast-derived metabolites, including volatile esters, dimethyl sulfide, glycerol and mannoproteins with harvest date.
Wine volatiles which were significantly influenced by harvest date were isobutyl methoxypyrazine, C6 alcohols and hexyl acetate, all of which decreased as ripening progressed.
The implications of harvest date for wine composition is discussed in terms of both grape composition and yeast metabolism.
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