Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Maybe good Brett and bad Brett

Winebiz - Australia's Wine Industry Portal By Winetitles
Daily Wine News

Australian scientists crack the code in world-first Brett research

Australian winemakers will soon have more control in managing wine spoilage thanks to breakthrough research which has revealed the genetic makeup of a problem yeast.
Scientists at The Australian Wine Research Institute (AWRI) have sequenced the genome of Dekkera bruzellensis(Brettanomyces), commonly known as Brett, and in doing so have uncovered its genetic blueprint
The research, which was funded by the Grape and Wine Research and Development Corporation, was published for the first time in the November/December 2011 issue of the Wine and Viticulture Journal, out now.
The discovery is a world-first for the Australian wine industry and could lead to new strategies to manage the yeast, which has the potential to spoil wine with its ‘medicinal’ and ‘metallic’ characters.
AWRI managing director, professor Sakkie Pretorius, says the research will give Australian winemakers the upper-hand in tackling the spoilage yeast.
“Sequencing the Brett genome, which reveals its genetic blueprint, means the Australian wine industry can future-proof its strategy against Brett and the risk of spoilage,” Pretorius said.
The incident of Brett spoilage in Australia has dropped by 90 per cent, but the possibility of Brett developing from sulfite-resistance still exists.
Dr Chris Curtin, lead AWRI researcher on the Brett genomics project, says it was this reason the AWRI set out to crack its genetic code.
“Sequencing the Brett genome means we can investigate the potential for an emergence of a ‘super’ strain that is resistant to sulfite treatment. We’ve already found the most important gene responsible for sulfite tolerance in Brett,” Dr Curtin said.
He says the research was like working on “a giant jigsaw puzzle” but has worked to deliver useful results.
“We’ve now cracked the code of ‘the enemy’ and we’re working on new weapons for winemakers to use against this spoilage yeast,” he said.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Reusing Water
In the wine world, he is known for his famous book “winemaking practices”. His name isRoger Boulton and he is professor at the Davis University (California). Boulton is devoted to research on sustainability in winemaking processes and today, he is in charge of the world’ first sustainable winery, a pilot model created by the U.C. Davis.
Invited by Coviar, INTA and INV to be lecturer in the 2011 Argentine Symposium of Viticulture and Winemaking (SAVE), held at “Bodega Centenario” in Mendoza (Argentina) during three days, Boulton was one of the main attraction of the event. His talk was focused on the “own measure” that every wine region and company should have in order to know whether or not they are sustainable. Likewise, he stressed practices to conserve water and energy, “capturing” carbon and he explained how the University’s pilot winery works, something that, for some people present, sounds like science fiction.
Water: a crucial asset for the business
“Nowadays, water is the most important commodity, because it is limited”, highlighted Boulton “Thus in the future, we will have to use it more than once in order that our business can be viable.”
He continued: “Today, practically in all companies water is used only once, or it is used a second time at most in other application. “In order to have a water footprint indicating that we are sustainable (this footprint or measure will depend on each project), I recommend touse water twice o more in the same application.”
He exemplified that in a winery, the way of measuring the water footprint will be given mainly by the surface to be washed, tanks, barrels and equipment. For that reason, to reduce the use of water, firstly it is necessary to change some winemaking practices. “The transferring of wine requires the use of water each time it is carried out to wash the tank. For that reason, while less vat capacity the winery has more water it will use.”This is the first concept dispelling the idea that small wineries use less water than the big ones.
“The equipment we use determines the amount of water per liter of wine we use,” then he added. “We should reduce the number of racking, or consider some methods to capture water, filter and re-use it many times.”
“By means of certain equipment and chemicals allowing the re-use of water, we only add 10% of new water to the cycle”, explained Boulton, “this way, in 10 cycles we would use only 1/5 of water we normally would have used.”
Therefore, he mentioned alternative practices with new equipments and chemicals, which are being tested, such as the flotation cell, or the columns for protein absorption, -material similar to the bentonite that can be used hundreds of times- by means of which wine, once cooled, goes through the  place where proteins rest and returns to the top of the tank. “This way, we handle all the volume together, without racking,” he explained.
When he show the model with which the sustainable winery works in Davis, California, Boulton explained that all the rainwater that falls on the roofs (solar panels) and in the courtyard is recovered. Then, water is filtered, cleaned and put into tanks. Then, this water is used for the irrigation of gardens and for bathrooms.

Monday, November 14, 2011

proanthocyanidins: the most abundant polyphenols in young red wines

Women and Wine: History

Bluebirds are not picky about what they eat: caterpillars, beetles, and grasshoppers are all fair game.

NOVEMBER 14, 2011, 7:35 AM

In a California Vineyard, Bluebirds Earn Their Keep

Julie JedlickaA male Western bluebird on a vineyard trellis.
In an innovative study, nest boxes installed at a California vineyard attracted hundreds of birds that picked the farmers’ crops clean of pests in exchange for the free housing. The experiment is heartening news for conservationists amid reports of shrinking habitats and population declines for so many species.
“Placing songbird nesting boxes in agricultural landscapes can provide suitable nesting sites for a lot of birds that used to be plentiful 100 or 200 years ago but lost their natural landscapes,” said Julie Jedlicka, an ornithologist at the University of California, Berkeley.
Dr. Jedlicka set out to study whether installing the nest boxes would help attract the birds and reduce pests. Her research, published last week in the journal PLoS One, confirmed her hunch. Compared with control areas in the same vineyard that did not have the nest boxes, areas with the boxes attracted twice as many birds early in the nesting season and had 2.6 times as many birds later in the breeding season.
Western bluebirds were responsible for much of the increase: 313 of them were counted at the nest box sites, versus 39 in control portions of the vineyard.

Over all, 1,122 birds representing 25 species made an appearance. Both the nest box sites and the sites without boxes had about the same number of species present, but the numbers of insect-eating species was 50 percent greater in areas with the nest boxes. Insectivorous birds removed about 2.4 times as many insect larvae at the nest box sites as they did in the control

                                                  Julie Jedlicka checks on a nest box in a vineyard in central California.
     Laura BarrowJulie Jedlicka checks on a nest box in a vineyard in central California.
Dr. Jedlicka’s idea is not new. From 1885 to 1940, the federal
Department of Agriculture devoted resources to studying “economic ornithology,” or using birds as biological controls for agricultural pests. After pesticides like DDT were developed during World War II, that approach largely faded in favor of a quick chemical fix. Now Dr. Jedlicka envisions a revival of economic ornithology through the lens of ecosystem services and bird conservation.
As cavity-nesting songbirds, bluebirds are particularly well suited to the task. Although they look for enclosures to build their nests, they tend to prefer those found within otherwise open spaces, and agricultural fields fit the bill. What is more, “they respond rapidly to new nesting opportunities,” Dr. Jedlicka said. Within one year of placing about 100 nest boxes in two vineyard study sites, bluebird families occupied over 75 percent of the boxes, she said.
Bluebirds are not picky about what they eat: caterpillars, beetles, and grasshoppers are all fair game. A bluebird family of five nestlings requires 125 grams of arthropods per day, and bluebird pairs can produce two broods per year.
The birds probably won’t replace farm pesticide use entirely. Some pests, like spider mites, are too small for bluebirds to consume.
Dr. Jedlicka hopes that wineries will gradually adopt the “Bird Friendly®” stamp, a certification already widely available for coffee growers. Vintners could then market their products to the growing eco-friendly consumer sector while helping the birds.
Wine growers aren’t the only farmers who can benefit: the combined range of North America’s three bluebird species extends across the United States. Farmers in Florida already use nest boxes to attract insect-eating birds, as do some apple orchard managers in New England.
Nest boxes can be used to attract bluebirds to urban gardens as well. “I imagine it would be difficult to find an agricultural system where this wouldn’t work,” Dr. Jedlicka said.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Perceive the taste of the wine in a manner consistent with the connotations of music

Music makes wine taste better

It has long been known that you should pair your wine with your food.

But a new study reveals wine drinkers should also consider what's playing on the stereo if they want the perfect tipple.
The study shows that people who drink wine while listening to music perceive the wine to have the same taste characteristics of the particular artist.
The research published in the British Journal of Psychology found that for the best earthy and full-bodied Merlot taste experience, drinkers should try listening to Tom Jones.
Or to add a little zing to a glass of Pinot Grigio pull out the latest Lady Gaga album.
Professor Adrian North of Herriot-Watt University gave taste tests to 250 students - half male, half female - while playing music in the background.
They were given either Alpha 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon - a red wine - or Chilean Chardonnay and played one of four songs on loop for 15 minutes picked for their contrasting musical characteristics.
Some of the volunteers sampled their glass to the tune of Carmina Burana by Orff - a song identified by researchers as "powerful and heavy".
Others were played the "subtle and refined" Waltz of the Flowers from Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker.
Another group listened to the "zingy and refreshing" Just Can't Get Enough by Nouvelle Vague and the fourth group were played the "mellow and soft" Slow Breakdown by Michael Brook.
A fifth group drank the wine with no music.
After five minutes the volunteers were asked to rank how much they felt the wine tasted like the musical descriptions: powerful and heavy, subtle and refined, mellow and soft, zingy and refreshing.
The results showed the music the volunteers listened to consistently affected how they perceived it to taste.
For example both red and white wines were given the highest ratings for being powerful and heavy by those participants who drank them to the tune of Carmina Burana.
Those who listened to Michael Brook rated their wine as tasting mellow and soft consistently higher than other tastes.
The study is titled 'the effect of background music on the taste of wine' and was published this month.
It says: "The research reported here considers the possibility that the emotional connotations of music may be able to function as a symbol that influences perception of taste.
"The results reported here indicate that independent groups' ratings of the taste of the wine reflected the emotional connotations of the background music played while they drank it.
"These results indicate that the symbolic function of auditory stimuli (in this case music) may influence perception in other modalities (in this case taste).
"More simply, participants appeared to perceive the taste of the wine in a manner consistent with the connotations of music."
The study was not able to say whether the outcomes are a result of the cultural connotations of the music influencing the drinker or whether they are explained by the physical properties of the sound.
It builds on previous research that shows that restaurant diners spend more money when they are played classical music over pop music. ends